Introductions: What is Digital Scholarship, anyways?

This is the beginning of a new series where we introduce you to the various topics that we cover in the Scholarly Commons. Maybe you’re new to the field or you’re just to the point where you’re just too afraid to ask… Fear not! We are here to take it back to the basics!

What is digital scholarship, anyways?

Digital scholarship is an all-encompassing term and it can be used very broadly. Digital scholarship refers to the use of digital tools, methods, evidence, or any other digital materials to complete a scholarly project. So, if you are using digital means to construct, analyze, or present your research, you’re doing digital scholarship!

It seems really basic to say that digital scholarship is any project that uses digital means because nowadays, isn’t that every project? Yes and No. We use the term digital quite liberally…If you used Microsoft Word to just write your essay about a lab you did during class – that is not digital scholarship however if you used specialized software to analyze the results from a survey you used to gather data then you wrote about it in an essay that you then typed in Microsoft Word, then that is digital scholarship! If you then wanted to get this essay published and hosted in an online repository so that other researchers can find your essay, then that is digital scholarship too!

Many higher education institutions have digital scholarship centers at their campus that focus on providing specialized support for these types of projects. The Scholarly Commons is a digital scholarship space in the University Main Library! Digital scholarship centers are often pushing for new and innovative means of discovery. They have access to specialized software and hardware and provide a space for collaboration and consultations with subject experts that can help you achieve your project goals.

At the Scholarly Commons, we support a wide array of topics that support digital and data-driven scholarship that this series will cover in the future. We have established partners throughout the library and across the wider University campus to support students, staff, and faculty in their digital scholarship endeavors.

Here is a list of the digital scholarship service points we support:

You can find a list of all the software the Scholarly Commons has to support digital scholarship here and a list of the Scholarly Commons hardware here. If you’re interested in learning more about the foundations of digital scholarship follow along to our Introductions series as we got back to the basics.

As always, if you’re interested in learning more about digital scholarship and how to  support your own projects you can fill out a consultation request form, attend a Savvy Researcher Workshop, Live Chat with us on Ask a Librarian, or send us an email. We are always happy to help!

Happy Open Education Week 2021!

Every March, librarians around the world celebrate Open Education Week, a time to raise awareness of the need for and use of Open Educational Resources on our campuses. Many libraries are engaged in promoting these resources to faculty and administrators in order to help reduce the cost of course materials for students.

OEWeek 2021 Logo

“Open Education Week Logo.” OEWeek. https://www.openeducationweek.org/page/materials. Licensed under a CC-BY 4.0 license.

Open Educational Resources are learning materials that are published without copyright restrictions, meaning they can be freely distributed, reused, and modified. Faculty who assign Open Educational Resources in their classes help eliminate the barriers to academic success students can face when they cannot afford their course materials. The Florida Virtual Campus survey has demonstrated over several iterations of their survey how these costs negatively impact students – whether it’s dropping or failing a course, changing major, or struggling academically.

OpenStax is one of the most well-known publishers of OER and is often used by librarians as an example of high-quality, low-cost textbooks. While librarians often work as OER advocates on their campus, we are not always the ones publishing our own, original OER. This makes the publishing of Instruction in Libraries and Information Centers: An Introduction in July 2020 a unique and exciting accomplishment that will benefit Library and Information Science students for years to come.

Front cover of Instruction in Libraries by Saunder and Wong

This textbook, authored by Laura Saunders, Associate Professor of Library and Information Science at Simmons College and Melissa Wong, Adjunct Lecturer of Library and Information Sciences at UIUC, is freely available for students to read online, download, and print. The book is the first open access textbook to be published by Windsor and Downs press through IOPN, the University Library’s publishing unit. Other open access books available through the press include Sara Benson’s The Sweet Public Domain: Celebrating Copyright Expiration with the Honey Bunch Series.

Interested in the ways libraries are celebrating these accomplishments and bringing attention to the need to continue our advocacy? Check out the Twitter hashtag #OEWeek to join the conversation.

5 Things for Educators to Know About Copyright Before Posting on Youtube

Making Youtube videos can be a fun and easy way to incorporate new media into a virtual classroom and provide an alternative to live lectures. That being said there are a few copyright concerns to keep in mind before you post. Youtube is a public online space that anyone can access, so the guidelines for copyright compliance are different than if you were in a traditional classroom setting. Read through this post and the recommended resources before you get started. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, it is just some information and resources I’ve come across in my research on this topic.

  1. Youtube WILL take your video down if you use copyrighted content that does not belong to you! Youtube uses software, such as the Copyright Match Tool and Content ID, to detect when content is shared by someone who is not the creator. If your video if flagged by these tools it may be taken down instantly. The process to get a video re-posted is complicated and your account may even be suspended. So, be very careful if you want your videos to stay online!
  2. Youtube does recognize research and teaching as conditions for Fair Use, but only on a case-by-case basis after your video has been flagged. It is best not to use copyrighted content in your videos but if you absolutely MUST, there are some ways you can set yourself up well for a Fair Use case. First, be sure to tag your video with metadata that make it clear this is an educational video. Second, when you make your channel be sure to brand yourself as an educator. For example, if your channel is called something like “Professor Smith’s Political Science Classroom” that is a pretty solid indicator that your channel is educational in nature. Third, only use what is absolutely necessary to your lesson. Don’t post a whole video clip if you are only analyzing 5 seconds of it. Even if you follow all this advice your video may still be taken down so save yourself the trouble and try not to use copyrighted material. If you want to learn more about Fair Use, visit our Library Guide on the subject.
  3. You can easily find images, music, and video clips that have a creative commons license. It is no fun to make a video with no music or images. Fortunately, you can find many of these with a Creative Commons license. A Creative Commons license is when a creator has given permission for their content to be used freely by anyone. One of the best places to find creative commons content are CreativeCommons.org but Youtube even has some creative commons content of their own in the Youtube Audio Library. Be sure to consult these resources before using copyrighted content.
  4. You can give your content a Creative Commons License using the setting on Youtube. If you are open to others using a remixing your content without getting flagged for copyright infringement, you can change your terms of service to allow for this. All Youtube videos are automatically given the standard Youtube License but if you go to the Terms of Service in your account setting this can be changed to a Creative Commons License. That being said, only videos that contain 100% original content can be given this license on the platform. Read the Youtube Terms of Service to learn more.
  5. Are you still not sure if you are violating copyright with your videos? Youtube has a Copyright Troubleshooting feature! Youtube provides a lot of great resources for creators and this one is pretty cool. If you need  more clarification on what is and is not a violation of copyright you can use this Copyright Troubleshooter tool that will take you through a series of multiple choice questions that get to the heart of your issues and provide an answer.

In summary, Youtube is a great place to put your content if you want it to be easily accessible but it is important to respect copyright in the process. For more information you can consult these resources:

Statistical Analysis at the Scholarly Commons

The Scholarly Commons is a wonderful resource if you are working on a project that involves statistical analysis. In this post, I will highlight some of the great resources the Scholarly Commons has for our researchers. No matter what point you are at in your project, whether you need to find and analyze data or just need to figure out which software to use, the Scholarly Commons has what you need!

Continue reading

Meet Wenjie Wang, the Scholarly Common’s Geographical Information System Specialist

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

This latest installment of our series of interviews with Scholarly Commons experts and affiliates features Wenjie Wang, Geographic Information Science Specialist at the Scholarly Commons. Welcome, Wenjie!


What is your background and work experience?

I worked as a Data Specialist at the Map and Geographic Information Center (MAGIC) in the University of Connecticut for five years. MAGIC is located within the Library’s digital scholarship lab, Greenhouse Studios, I worked alongside digital humanities and digital scholarship colleagues with a focus on utilizing geospatial data, GIS applications, and spatial data analysis techniques to contribute to projects within Greenhouse Studios as well as to support researchers at MAGIC. I have had the opportunity of working within diverse environments and my experiences have been enriched by working with students, faculty, staff, and the community from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

 

What led you to be a GIS specialist?

In my former role as a teaching assistant for Geography courses, I realize that introducing GIS tools and methods to students in the geography class is always a challenge, as students have very different educational and technological backgrounds. Many students lack the core comprehension of geospatial concepts, have not used or even heard of GIS software before. With MAGIC receiving over 5 million online users a year, I truly understand how important GIS could be in students’ research. I think my interdisciplinary interests can put me in a strong position to bridge conversations between individuals from diverse backgrounds and I can help them use GIS as a tool in their research.

 

What are your favorite projects you’ve worked on?

I created maps to provide a quick and user-friendly way for communities to reflect on the differences in child outcomes across the local communities in Connecticut. My knowledge of GIS was utilized to analyze data and create maps to help match proven school readiness solutions with unique needs faced by communities for the organization. This is my first big project and it is very meaningful. I learned a lot from this project, so it is my favorite project so far.

 

What are some of your favorite resources that you would recommend to researchers?

I would like to recommend two data resources: IPUMS and TIGER/Line Shapefiles. IPUMS provides census and survey data, including tabular U.S. Census data, historical and contemporary U.S. health survey data, Integrated data on population and the environment, and much more. TIGER/Line shapefiles contain features such as roads, hydrographic features and boundaries. These resources are very useful for researchers who just start to use GIS since they are free and easy to handle.

 

If you could recommend one book or resource to researchers who do not have GIS background, what would you recommend?

Because many researchers just want to use GIS as a tool in their research field and they don’t have plenty of time to learn GIS, I would like to recommend Esri Training Web Courses. The courses are free and short. Through these entry level courses, researchers can easily learn what is GIS, how a GIS works, how to analyze and manage GIS data, and so on. After that, they will be able to know what kind of GIS technologies and data is useful in their research. And then they can focus on learning these parts.

 

What is the one thing you would want people to know about your field?

I would like to say GIS is not just making maps. GIS can help us make detailed and informative maps, but GIS can do much more than this. The most important part of GIS is its ability to help us think spatially and answer our questions. I hope I will be able to help researchers to understand GIS can be used as a tool in both problem solving and decision-making processes in their research.

 

Interested in contacting Wenjie? You can email him at wenjiew@illinois.edu , or set up a consultation request through the Scholarly Commons website.

2019-2020 Research Travel Grant!

Are you a researcher that needs very specific resources? Are you interested in working with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign library’s vast collections? You are in luck!

A call for applications for the 2019-2020 Research Travel Grant have just opened! If you are a scholar at the graduate and post-doctoral level, you have until may 1st, 2019, to apply!

You will need to send a project proposal (no more than three pages) which clearly highlights how the work at the UIUC Library is part of your ongoing or future research, along with an updated CV, and a letter of recommendation from a local scholar in a relevant academic department of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

But what types of materials could researchers take advantage of through our library? Well, in our nearly 14-million volume collection, there is wide variety!

One of our featured collections is the Audubon Folio. This piece was originally bought for one thousand dollars, and is one of 134 that remain intact.  With the original standing three feet tall, and weighing fifty-pounds, pieces facsimile copy the university library owns is on display outside the Literature and Languages Library.

Plate 217, the Louisiana Heron

The International and Area Studies library also has an impressive collection of South Asian comics. More than 1,600 of these comics are from India, with the library’s comic collection reaching nearly 10,000 titles in more than a dozen languages.

Comic Cover from Indrajal Comics Online

And there are so many more collections at the library!

The James Collins Irish Collection is “devoted to Irish history and culture, and includes 139 volumes of bound pamphlets, as well as 2,500 unbound pieces”, entire works and pieces from 127 volumes of newspaper clippings, political cartoons, and more! The library has collection ranging from the Spanish Golden Age to American Wit and Humor.

We certainly hoped we’ve sparked your interest in our vast collection! And check out even more pieces of our distinct collections here!

Using an Art Museum’s Open Data

*Edits on original idea and original piece by C. Berman by Billy Tringali

As a former art history student, I’m incredibly interested in the how the study of art history can be aided by the digital humanities. More and more museums have started allowing the public to access a portion of their data. When it comes to open data, museums seem to be lagging a bit behind other cultural heritage institutions, but many are providing great open data for humanists.

For art museums, the range of data provided ranges. Some museums are going the extra mile to give a lot of their metadata to the public. Others are picking and choosing aspects of their collection, such as the Museum of Modern Art’s Exhibition and Staff Histories.

Many museums, especially those that collect modern and contemporary art, can have their hands tied by copyright laws when it comes to the data they present. A few of the data sets currently available from art museums are the Cooper Hewitt’s Collection Data, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts metadata, the Rijksmuseum API, the Tate Collection metadata, and the Getty Vocabularies.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently released all images of the museum’s public domain works under a Creative Commons Zero license.

More museum data can be found here!

Open Access Week News Round-Up

Photograph of President John F. Kennedy speaking at a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, 22 November 1963.

Photograph of President John F. Kennedy speaking at a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, 22 November 1963. Courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum.

In honor of Open Access week, graduate assistants at Scholarly Communications and Publishing compiled a round-up of some breaking news stories related to Open Access!


The​ ​remaining​ ​JFK​ ​Assassination​ ​Records​ ​will​ ​be​ ​made​ ​available​ ​this​ ​week.​​ ​On​ ​October 26,​ ​1992,​ ​the​ ​first​ ​President​ ​Bush​ ​signed​ ​the​ ​JFK​ ​Assassination​ ​Records​ ​Collection​ ​Act, stipulating​ ​that​ ​all​ ​withheld​ ​records​ ​should​ ​be​ ​released​ ​within​ ​25​ ​years.​ ​We’re​ ​coming​ ​up​ ​on​ ​that day.​ ​​See​ ​the​ ​records​ ​released​ ​so​ ​far​​ ​or​ ​​learn​ ​more​ ​about​ ​the​ ​records​​ ​from​ ​the​ ​National Archives.

Stephen​ ​Hawking’s​ ​doctoral​ ​thesis​ ​is​ ​now​ ​openly​ ​available​​ ​through​ ​the​ ​Cambridge University​ ​institutional​ ​repository,​ ​Apollo.​ ​​According​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Guardian​,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​already​ ​Apollo’s most-downloaded​ ​item.​ ​Read​ ​​Properties​ of​ Expanding​ Universes​​ ​yourself,​ ​or​ ​explore​ ​Illinois’ institutional​ ​repository,​ ​​IDEALS​,​ ​for​ ​more​ ​open-access​ ​scholarship.

Five​ ​German​ ​researchers​ ​have​ ​resigned​ ​from​ ​editorial​ ​positions​ ​at​ ​Elsevier​ ​journals​ ​over open​ ​access​ ​disputes.​​ ​​According​ ​to​ ​Science​,​ ​“The​ ​researchers​ ​want​ ​Elsevier​ ​to​ ​accept​ ​a​ ​new payment​ ​model​ ​that​ ​would​ ​make​ ​all​ ​papers​ ​authored​ ​by​ ​Germany-based​ ​researchers​ ​open access.”​ ​The​ ​leaders​ ​of​ ​Projekt​ ​DEAL,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​organizing​ ​the​ ​protest,​ ​expect​ ​the​ ​number​ ​to grow.​ ​See​ ​also​ ​​Elsevier’s​ ​guide​ ​to​ ​publishing​ ​open​ ​access​ ​in​ ​Elsevier​ ​journals​.​ ​IDEALS encourages​ ​authors​ ​to​ ​negotiate​ ​for​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​publish​ ​open​ ​access.

Learn more about Open Access at the University of Illinois.

The Scholarly Commons Has a New Website!

The Scholarly Commons website banner.

After months of work, we are excited to present our new website: www.library.illinois.edu/sc! We hope our new website is easy to navigate and useful to students and researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and beyond. We would like to invite you to take a look around the website and to let us know if you have any issues, comments, questions or concerns!

Interested in deep statistical methods training? Webinar on Monday!

For researchers who haven’t gotten the statistical knowledge they need from coursework, the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is preparing its 2017 Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research.  Intensive statistical methods courses last for four or eight weeks, with a few week long workshops.

On Monday, January 30th at 1:00pm CST, ICPSR is offering a free webinar to introduce the Summer Program, discuss the 2017 courses, explain the registration process, and explore ICPSR Scholarships and other funding opportunities to attend. More information, as well as a link to register for the webinar, can be found here: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/sumprog/.