Meet Michelle Reed: New Head of The Scholarly Commons

Head shot of Michelle Reed from the chest up

It is an exciting time for our unit because we finally have a new head of the Scholarly Commons, Michelle Reed! We want to give our readers a chance to learn more about Michelle and her career in this blog post.

Before joining us, Michelle worked as Associate Librarian and Director of Open Educational Resources at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. In that role Michelle led efforts to support the adoption, modification, and creation of open educational resources (OER). She oversaw the university’s financial investment in OER, managed the OER publishing activities of Mavs Open Press, and collaborated with UTA faculty to secure external grant funding for OER development, including a $582,322 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create a series of transportation resources.

Michelle Reed giving a presentation at a podium

Prior to joining UTA, Michelle supported both information literacy and scholarly communication at the University of Kansas Libraries. She also worked as a technical writer and editor for a Department of Energy waste management center and a small research and manufacturing business specializing in neurophysiological research tools.

In her new role as the head of the Scholarly Commons she hopes to build collaborative relationships with partners from within the library and across campus to support the use and exploration of digital tools, broaden access to scholarship, and enhance the university’s research output.

To learn more about Michelle, you can visit her website librariansreed.com.

Simple NetInt: A New Data Visualization Tool from Illinois Assistant Professor, Juan Salamanca

Juan Salamanca Ph.D, Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign recently created a new data visualization tool called Simple NetInt. Though developed from a tool he created a few years ago, this tool brings entirely new opportunities to digital scholarship! This week we had the chance to talk to Juan about this new tool in data visualization. Here’s what he said…

Simple NetInt is a JavaScript version of NetInt, a Java-based node-link visualization prototype designed to support the visual discovery of patterns across large dataset by displaying disjoint clusters of vertices that could be filtered, zoomed in or drilled down interactively. The visualization strategy used in Simple NetInt is to place clustered nodes in independent 3D spaces and draw links between nodes across multiple spaces. The result is a simple graphic user interface that enables visual depth as an intuitive dimension for data exploration.

Simple NetInt InterfaceCheck out the Simple NetInt tool here!

In collaboration with Professor Eric Benson, Salamanca tested a prototype of Simple NetInt with a dataset about academic publications, episodes, and story locations of the Sci-Fi TV series Firefly. The tool shows a network of research relationships between these three sets of entities similar to a citation map but on a timeline following the episodes chronology.

What inspired you to create this new tool?

This tool is an extension of a prototype I built five years ago for the visualization of financial transactions between bank clients. It is a software to visualize networks based on the representation of entities and their relationships and nodes and edges. This new version is used for the visualization of a totally different dataset:  scholarly work published in papers, episodes of a TV Series, and the narrative of the series itself. So, the network representation portrays relationships between journal articles, episode scripts, and fictional characters. I am also using it to design a large mural for the Siebel Center for Design.

What are your hopes for the future use of this project?

The final goal of this project is to develop an augmented reality visualization of networks to be used in the field of digital humanities. This proof of concept shows that scholars in the humanities come across datasets with different dimensional systems that might not be compatible across them. For instance, a timeline of scholarly publications may encompass 10 or 15 years, but the content of what is been discussed in that body of work may encompass centuries of history. Therefore, these two different temporal dimensions need to be represented in such a way that helps scholars in their interpretations. I believe that an immersive visualization may drive new questions for researchers or convey new findings to the public.

What were the major challenges that came with creating this tool?

The major challenge was to find a way to represent three different systems of coordinates in the same space. The tool has a universal space that contains relative subspaces for each dataset loaded. So, the nodes instantiated from each dataset are positioned in their own coordinate system, which could be a timeline, a position relative to a map, or just clusters by proximities. But the edges that connect nodes jump from one coordinate system to the other. This creates the idea of a system of nested spaces that works well with few subspaces, but I am still figuring out what is the most intuitive way to navigate larger multidimensional spaces.

What are your own research interests and how does this project support those?

My research focuses on understanding how designed artifacts affect the viscosity of social action. What I do is to investigate how the design of artifacts facilitates or hinders the cooperation of collaboration between people. I use visual analytics methods to conduct my research so the analysis of networks is an essential tool. I have built several custom-made tools for the observation of the interaction between people and things, and this is one of them.

If you would like to learn more about Simple NetInt you can find contact information for Professor Juan Salamanca here and more information on his research!

If you’re interested in learning more about data visualizations for your own projects, check out our guide on visualizing your data, attend a Savvy Researcher Workshop, Live Chat with us on Ask a Librarian, or send us an email. We are always happy to help!

New Register of Copyrights

On September 21, the Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden announced her appointment of  Shira Perlmutter as the next U.S. Register of Copyrights. While the Register of Copyrights (the Register) role may not be the most publicly visible position in the Library of Congress, the Register plays a significant role in influencing and upholding copyright laws.

Picture of Shira Perlmutter speaking at a podium

Shira Perlmutter, Register of Copyrights

To help you gain a better understanding of what the Register of Copyrights does and how they may impact your life as a researcher and/or consumer of public information, we created a list of  important information you should know about the U.S. Copyright Office and the Register of Copyrights.

What is the Register of Copyrights?

The Register of Copyrights is the director of the U.S. Copyright Office, the principal federal agency that administers the U.S. Copyright Act. The Register is responsible for administering the provisions of copyright and related laws set out in Title 17 of the United States Code. The law directs the Register to advise Congress on national and international issues related to copyright laws, provide information and assistance on copyright matters to other federal agencies and the judiciary, conduct studies and programs regarding copyright, and participate in meetings of international intergovernmental organizations and meetings with foreign government officials.

Additionally, the Register is responsible for allocating financial and other resources to ensure that the Copyright Office’s programmatic mission and objectives are met. The Register oversees Copyright Office employee functions such as registration, recordation, statutory licensing, law and policy, public information and education, operations, and modernization program activities.

Who is Shira Perlmutter?

Shira Perlmutter is one of the nation’s most preeminent copyright experts. Prior to her appointment as the 14th U.S. Register of Copyrights, Shira Perlmutter served as the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs.

All together, Perlmutter has more than 20 years of experience working on copyright and other intellectual property issues, in a variety of public and private sector positions. During her tenure at the USPTO, she led the work of the Office of Policy and International Affairs in contributing to domestic and international IP policy development, represented the United States in negotiations at the World Intellectual Property Organization, oversaw the USPTO’s economic research, international education and IP attaché programs, and managed the USPTO’s work with the United States Trade Representative on matters involving IP and trade.

Coming into the position, Perlmutter has also been vocal about her advocacy of fair copyright laws. Prior to her appointment Perlmutter has given public lectures on copyright, stating that Americans desire copyright laws that make sense and that reflect the technologies currently in use. Furthermore, she has expressed desires for laws that keep pace with modern technology.

Implications of Perlmutter’s Appointment

With her new appointment as the Register of Copyrights, she is now in a position to potentially make some of those updates. Assuredly, one of the policy areas in copyright law that demands a new approach is technology.

For example, new technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence have been plagued by racial and gender bias, and Internet platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter have amplified hate speech, disinformation, and conspiracy theories. Additionally, as digital streaming continues to establish its dominance in the music industry, it raises the question of how the federal government should modernize copyright laws for music and audio recordings.

Unlike her predecessors, Perlmutter will have to learn to provide guidance on copyright laws and privacy issues while dealing with big tech corporations with trillion dollar market caps and major lobbying influence. Depending on how she wields her influence, Perlmutter’s decisions as the new Register could have long-lasting implications in the fields of copyright, privacy, and intellectual property.

To learn more about the U.S. Copyright Office and Register Perlmutter, visit the Copyright Office’s website.

Resources Consulted:

Keyes, J. (2019, November 14). The Katy Perry Verdict Proves Our Music Copyright Laws Need a Tune Up. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2019/08/29/katy-perry-verdict-proves-music-copyright-laws-need-tune/id=112644/.

U.S. Copyright Office. Leadership and Offices. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from https://www.copyright.gov/about/leadership/.

United States Patent and Trademark Office. (2020, September 21). Shira Perlmutter, USPTO Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs, appointed Register of Copyrights. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/shira-perlmutter-uspto-chief-policy-officer-and-director-international.

Welcome back to the Scholarly Commons! Here’s what you missed…

Hello friends! Campus is open again (kind of) after our long, strange, and trying pandemic summer. Here at the Scholarly Commons we are ready to get back into the swing of things and help you with all of your research technology needs. While many of the ways we do business have changed, our commitment to our patrons and your success is unwavering. In case you are feeling out-of-the-loop I’ve compiled a list of the most important changes to our services. Here is what you missed on the last episode of Keeping Up With The Scholarly Commons:

1. We are all online! Find us on chat!

Starting this semester the Scholarly Commons reference staff will be available to our patrons through the library chat service. Have a question? Trouble accessing our tools? Just miss us? Drop us a chat and we will help you in real time. Scholarly Commons chat reference hours are between 10:00am to 2:00pm Monday through Friday. Access chat through our website!Chat window with "Whats up scholarly commons?" in the text box

As always, feel free to send us an email at sc@library.illinois.edu.

2. Scanning help by appointment

You might think that because our space is closed until further notice that we don’t offer scanning services anymore. I’m delighted to say that is not the case. If you need to scan something you may request an appointment to use a library scanner using this form. It will take up to 48 hours for the form to be processed. Keep in mind that not all requests can be accommodated due to demand and the ability of our staff to supervise your appointment but we will try our best to ensure this service is accessible. If you have questions about this service send us an email.

Plustek Scanner Image

“Come visit… I’m lonely”- Our scanners (probably)

3. New Interim Head of Unit: Sara Benson

Yes, you read that correctly! We have new leadership!!! Our new interim head of unit is Copyright Librarian Extraordinaire Sara Benson. If you want to get to know Sara and her work read her interview on our blog or listen to her Copyright Chat Podcast.

Sara Benson headshot

4. New GIS Specialist: Wenjie Wang

We are very very excited to have a full-time GIS specialist for all your mapping and spacial data needs! He joins us after working at the University of Connecticut Map and Geographic Information Center and has years of experience working with GIS. Do you want to learn more about Wenjie and his work? Read his interview on Commons Knowledge. Do you have GIS questions? Request a consultation with Wenjie!

Headshot of Wenjie Wang, wearing a black suit with a blue shirt and blue striped tie. Standing in front of trees.

5. Our podcast is out!

We have been working hard on our podcast for a long time now and it is finally out! In our podcast, It Takes a Campus, we interview experts across campus about the new and exciting ways they support digital scholarship in their roles. Listen to our first two episodes right here on our blog!

Image has the text supporting digital scholarship, it takes a campus with icons of microphone and broadcast symbol

 It Takes a Campus: Episode One With Dena Strong

It Takes a Campus: Episode Two With Harriett Green

6. The Scholarly Commons turns ten!

This marks a very important year for the Scholarly Commons as we enter our tenth year supporting digital scholarship here at the University of Illinois. We have some exciting events planned so stay tuned for more updates on that!

2020 Vision: An Overview of the Scholarly Commons This Semester

Jeff Goldbloom saying

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.

Continue reading

What’s In A Name?: From Lynda.com to LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning Logo

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.

Charmander evolving into Charmeleon

Sometimes, evolution is simple (like when it gets you one step closer to an Elite-Four-wrecking Charizard). Sometimes, it’s a little more complicated (like when Microsoft buys LinkedIn which just bought Lynda.com).

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.

Obi-Wan Kenobi looking confused with caption reading [visible confusion]

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.

Welcome Back!

Principal Skinner from Simpsons saying

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!

In addition to our expansive software and numerous scanners, the Scholarly Commons is here to provide you with access to both brand new and continued services

Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother asking

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:
Monday: 10:00am-4:00pm
Tuesday: 10:00am-4:00pm
Wednesday: 10:00am-1:00pm, 2:00-5:00pm
Thursday: 10:00am-4:00pm
Friday: 10:00am-4:00pm

Billy Mays saying

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.  

As always, please reach out to the Scholarly Commons with any questions at sc@library.illinois.edu and best of luck in all your research this upcoming year!

February Push!

Hello, researchers!

Congratulations! You made it through your first month back of the spring semester. From class work, to pouring rain, to enough snow and ice and make the university look like it’s auditioning for a role as Antarctica, you’re pushing forward!

A dual-monitor computer in the Scholarly Commons. The background of the image shows the Scholarly Commons space, which is filled with out dual-monitor computers and various desks.

Take a minute to look over all the awesome resources we have, right here in the Scholarly Commons, to help you keep chugging along with your research.

We are open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Our various, dual monitor computers have software ranging from Adobe Photoshop to OCR which can be paired with our various scanners to make machine readable PDFs!

The Scholarly Commons space. A desk with a computer and a sign reading "Scholarly Commons" is shown.

Researchers can book free consultations thanks to our partnerships with CITL Data Analytics and Technology Services! In these meetings, you can learn about R, SAS, and everything else you need to just get started or to get past that tricky problem in your statistical research.

Beyond that, users can make appoints with our GIS specialist, and learn even more through our GIS resources. We have a ton of great books in our non-circulating reference collection that can help you learn about Python, GIS, and more!

The Scholarly Common reference collection. Six shelves filled with books.

 

And that’s not all: our Data Analytics & Visualization Librarian has put together a plethora of resources to help turn your data into art. Check out the four most common types of charts guide to get started!

The Scholarly Commons space. it contains several workstations with a carpeted floor.

And even this doesn’t cover all of our services!

If you need assistance finding numeric data, understanding your copyrights, cleaning up data in OpenRefine, or even starting up a project using text mining, we have the resources you need.

The Scholarly Commons has all the resources you need to succeed, so stop by anytime! We’re always happy to help.

Summer II – Services are back!

Two men nodding and saying "We're back"

That’s right! It’s Summer II, and most of our services are re-opening for all you researchers out there.

A pineapple with sunglasses

CITL Statistical Consulting is back for the rest of the summer here in the Scholarly Commons from 10 am to 2 pm, Monday through Thursday! Schedule a consultation with them here
A chart written in a journal

The Survey Research Lab is here every Thursday from 2-5 until Summer II ends!

A picture of a journal and a chart

Our GIS specialist is in the office accepting consultations as well! Schedule an appointment with him by sending us an email

A globe on a beach

And don’t forget our Data Discovery team is here to help you find and format digital numeric and spatial data!

Image of numeric data

Summer is the perfect time to get ahead on your projects, so let us help!

Introducing the Scholarly Commons Project Forum

A logo for the Scholarly Commons Project Forum.

The Scholarly Commons Project Forum is an hour-long bi-weekly meeting space for scholars who are interested in Digital Humanities questions regarding data and text. These meetings are an opportunity for informal, open-ended conversations about research where we will discuss conceptual, methodological, and workflow issues for projects. Those projects may be at any stage of development, whether still formative or largely complete. The goal is to think together about how to develop robust Digital Humanities research, whether as beginners interested in trying out DH techniques or those with more experience, and to make that research more legible to others.

These conversations will be facilitated by Interns at the Scholarly Commons, and will be held Mondays in Main Library 220 from 2:00-3:00 pm, starting March 5, and every two weeks following. Please RSVP to sc@library.illinois.edu.