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!
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 email@example.com , or set up a consultation request through the Scholarly Commons website.
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.
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.
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!
*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.
More museum data can be found here!
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.
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!
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/.
Are you a high achieving undergraduate interested in spending a summer conducting research under a faculty mentor and preparing for graduate school? Here are three places where you can find opportunities that you should apply for ASAP as deadlines are coming up soon:
1.Big Ten Summer Research Opportunities Program DUE FEBRUARY 10!
- Must be an undergraduate with at least a 3.0 G.P.A., citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., and have completed two semesters of college with at least one more semester before graduation, interested in pursuing a PhD program. There are a wide variety of research opportunities available to students and students from all majors and backgrounds should be able to find a research experience that matches their interest.
- The summer program at Illinois will be from May 30th to July 28th this year. However, Illinois is just one of many schools of the Big Ten Academic Alliance where you can conduct research! All program sites provide housing and a stipend to academic researchers with many covering costs of travel and meals as well.
- To apply: complete the shared Big Ten application and any supplements depending on the school and program. Yes, this is essentially a mini grad school application asking for a personal statement and research interests, recommendations, etc. but it is worth the effort as regardless of whether or not you are placed in a research opportunity, usually students who applied for this program can receive application fee waivers when applying to graduate schools in the alliance.
2. Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program DUE FEBRUARY 1ST!
- Must be a rising sophomore, junior, or senior with at least a 3.0 G.P.A., a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., and have an interest in pursuing a PhD or MD/PhD program. There are a wide variety of research internships available for students, including humanities and social science majors specifically through the Mellon Initiative ! Students can apply to up to three research sites through the shared application though some schools require supplementary materials.
- Every program runs for 8-10 weeks this summer and students will receive a stipend, housing, and assistance with travel expenses and present the research they’ve conducted under a faculty mentor at the Leadership Alliance National Symposium at the end of the summer.
- To apply: complete the shared Leadership Alliance application and any supplemental material by February 1st. Yes this is essentially a mini graduate school application. Yes this is soon. But we at Scholarly Commons believe in you, undergraduate researchers.
3. National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates– VARIOUS DEADLINES TYPICALLY LATE JANUARY THROUGH EARLY MARCH!
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, these programs provide stipends for student researchers and oftentimes assistance with housing and travel.
- There are a lot of different programs in a lot of different areas of science from anthropology to zoology both in the U.S. and abroad. It can be a bit overwhelming to go through, however, there are a lot of interesting opportunities out there.
- To apply: follow instructions on the individual program site, expect to have to do the equivalent of a mini graduate school application, and at the very least write essays explaining your interest in participating in a particular research project and send a resume/CV.
Hope that this has inspired you to start thinking about summer research if you haven’t already and get to work completing your applications! Best of luck undergrads! And welcome back!
- Who: Professor Geoffrey C. Bowker of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and director of the Values in Design Laboratory at the University of California, Irvine. Bowker also co-directs the NSF-funded Council for Big Data, Ethics, and Society, and was once a faculty member at the UIUC I-School.
- What: A lecture in the Design Dialogues Speakers Series on big data, and how it’s changed what it means to be human through histories and ethical design issues from past developments
- Where: The auditorium of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), 1205 W. Clark Street, Urbana, IL
- When: 4:00 pm, September 20, 2016
- Why: To try to understand the important role big data plays in your life, and how that role has evolved over time, as well as to hear an interdisciplinary perspective on this issue
Here’s a quick schedule update. Scholarly Commons will be open next Monday August 8th and Tuesday the 9th. This will be the beginning of our intersession schedule, and we will be available in room 306 of the main library from 1-5pm.