Introducing Drop-In Consultation Hours at the Scholarly Commons!

Do you have a burning question about data management, copyright, or even how to work Adobe Photoshop but do not have the time to set up an appointment? This semester, the Scholarly Commons is happy to introduce our new drop-in consultation hours! Each weekday, we will have an expert from a different scholarly subject have an open hour or two where you can bring any question you have about that’s expert’s specialty. These will all take place in room 220 in the Main Library in Group Room A (right next to the Scholarly Commons help desk). Here is more about each session:

 

Mondays 11 AM – 1 PM: Data Management with Sandi Caldrone

This is a photo of Sandi Caldrone, who works for Research Data Services and will be hosting the Monday consultation hours from 11 AM - 1 PMStarting us off, we have Sandi Caldrone from Research Data Services offering consultation hours on data management. Sandi can help with topics such as creating a data management plan, organizing/storing your data, data curation, and more. She can also help with questions around the Illinois Data Bank and the Dryad Repository.

 

 
 

Tuesdays 11 AM – 1 PM: GIS with Wenjie Wang

Next up, we have Wenjie Wang from the Scholarly Commons to offer consultation about Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Have a question about geocoding, geospatial analysis, or even where to locate GIS data? Wenjie can help! He can also answer any questions related to using ArcGIS or QGIS.

 
 

Wednesdays 11 AM – 12 PM: Copyright with Sara Benson

This is a photo of Copyright Librarian Sara Benson who will be hosting the Wednesday consultation hours from 11 AM - 12 PMDo you have questions relating to copyright and your dissertation, negotiating an author’s agreement, or seeking permission to include an image in your own work? Feel free to drop in during Copyright Librarian Sara Benson’s open copyright hours to discuss any copyright questions you may have.

 

 

 

Thursdays 1-3 PM: Qualitative Data Analysis with Jess Hagman

This is a photo of Jess Hagman, who works for the Social Science, Education, and Health Library and will be hosting the Thursday consultation hours from 1 PM - 3 PMJess Hagman from the Social Science, Health, and Education Library is here to help with questions related to performing qualitative data analysis (QDA). She can walk you through any stage of the qualitative data analysis process regardless of data or methodology. She can also assist in operating QDA software including NVivo, Atlas.ti, MAXQDA, Taguette, and many more! For more information, you can also visit the qualitative data analysis LibGuide.

 

 

 
 

Fridays 10 AM – 12 PM: Graphic Design and Multimedia with JP Goguen

To end the week, we have JP Goguen from the Scholarly/Media Commons with consultation hours related to graphic design and multimedia. Come to JP with any questions you may have about design or photo/video editing. You can also bring JP any questions related to software found on the Adobe Creative Cloud (such as Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere Pro, etc.).

 

Have another Scholarly Inquiry?

If there is another service you need help with, you are always welcome to stop by the Scholarly Commons help desk in room 220 of the Main Library between 10 AM – 6 PM Monday-Friday. From here, we can get you in contact with another specialist to guide you through your research inquiry. Whatever your question may be, we are happy to help you!

Choosing an OCR Software: ABBYY FineReader vs. Adobe Acrobat Pro

What is OCR? OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. This is the electronic identification and digital encoding of typed or printed text by means of an optical scanner or a specialized software. Performing OCR allows computers to read static images of text to convert them to readable, editable, and searchable data on a page. There are many applications of OCR including the creation of more accessible documents for the blind and visually-impaired, text/data mining projects, textual comparisons, and large-scale digitization projects.

There are a different software options to consider when you are performing OCR on you documents and it can be challenging to understand which one is best for you. So let’s break it down. Continue reading

Choosing GIMP as a Photoshop Alternative

The GIMP logo.

Image manipulation is a handy skill, but sinking time and money into Adobe Photoshop may not be an option for some people. If you’re looking for an alternative to Photoshop, GIMP is a great bet. Available for almost every operating system, GIMP is open source and free with lots of customization and third party plugin options.

One of the major aspects you lose when moving from Photoshop to GIMP is the loss of a major community and widespread knowledge of the software. While GIMP has its dedicated loyalists and a staff, they lack the same kind of institutional power that Adobe has to answer questions, fix bugs, and provide support. While Lynda.com does provide tutorials on GIMP, there are fewer overall resources for tutorials and help than Photoshop.

That being said, GIMP can still be a more powerful tool than Photoshop, especially if you have a programming background (or can convince someone else to do some programming for you). Theoretically, you could add or subtract any features that you so choose by changing the GIMP source code, and you are free to distribute a version of GIMP with those changes to whomever you choose.

There are a number of pros/cons for choosing GIMP over Photoshop, so here’s a handy list.

GIMP Pros:

  • Free
  • Highly customizable and flexible (with coding expertise)
  • Motivated user community run by volunteers
  • High usability
  • Easier to contact leadership regarding issues

GIMP Cons:

  • Less recognized
  • Changes are more slowly implemented
  • No promise that the software will always be maintained in perpetuity

Of course, there are more pros and cons to using GIMP, but this will give you a basic idea of the pros and cons of switching over to this open-source software.

For more information on GIMP, you can check out the GIMP Wiki, which is maintained by GIMP developers, or The GTK+ Project, which is a toolkit for the creation of graphical user interfaces (GUI). GIMP also provides a series of Tutorials. If you’re still loyal to Adobe, you can look at the Adobe products available on the UIUC WebStore, as well as tutorials on Lynda.com.

Do you have opinions on GIMP vs. Photoshop? Let us know in the comments! And stop by the Scholarly Commons, where you can use either (or both!) software for free.