Library Catalog Update

An update to the VuFind Library Catalog (University Library and I-Share) has been launched.  Changes include:

  • call number searching
  • journal title searching
  • ability to limit search results by year of publication
  • ability to exclude microforms and HathiTrust records from search results
  • netID and password login (your current VuFind login will not work in the new catalog)

To establish your account in the new catalog, go to My Account, log in with netID and password, click on the profile link, add your barcode and last name, and click the login button.  (More complete instructions with screenshots are here.)

For those using tags or favorites, these unfortunately do not carry over to your account in the new catalog.

The old VuFind version remains available for now, but not indefinitely.  If you have questions about the new interface, establishing your account, or transferring tags/favorites, please contact me.

New Library Catalog
Old Library Catalog



Illinois State Water Survey at the 1914 State Fair

The 2016 Illinois State Fair opens today in Springfield.  To celebrate the Fair and “throwback Thursday,” we are highlighting an exhibit displayed by Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) at the Illinois State Fair held September 18-26, 1914, nearly 102 years ago.


The exhibit was in the Exposition Building, next to the booths of the State Board of Health.  It featured a map of the water supplies surveyed by ISWS with color coded flags.  Black flags with skulls and crossbones indicated unsafe supplies.  The display aimed to educate the public about the connection between proper sanitation and safe drinking water.  A model showed the flow of water “to the well from the privy” and suggested, “perhaps that ‘fine mineral flavor’ you notice in well water comes from the barnyard.”  Model sanitary privies were also displayed.  A full description of the exhibit can be found in ISWS Bulletin 12 (pp. 237-241).

The ISWS was founded in 1895 within the University of Illinois Department of Chemistry, “for carrying on a systematic survey of the waters of the state.” Early work focused on the safety of Illinois water supplies, particularly sanitation and waterborne diseases such as typhoid and diphtheria.   Under the direction of its third chief, Edward Bartow, ISWS staff had made on-site visits to more than 250 communities by the end of 1914, where they assessed conditions and consulted with local engineers to help improve the safety of public water supplies (ISWS Bulletin 12, pp. 23-25).

A less obvious contribution to the Illinois State Fair by the Illinois State Water Survey was the inspection of fairground wells on August 20-21, 1914 reported in ISWS Bulletin 12 (pp. 132-133).    “The analyses show that not one of the wells was entirely free from the influence of contamination and that some of them were dangerously polluted.”  Sewer lines were found to have “open joints” providing “abundant opportunity for leakage.”  The ISWS recommended closure and filling of all wells, and a transition to using the Springfield public water supply on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Also see:

Updated from the original 8/13/2015 post on the Prairie Research Institute Library’s blog, “News from the Library.”

How you can use IDEALS and why you should

Updated from the original post 9/24/2014 on the Prairie Research Institute Library’s  blog, “News from the Library”, in honor of  Preservation Week.  

ideals-logo_339x701Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS) is our institutional repository, which “collects, disseminates, and provides persistent and reliable access to the research and scholarship of faculty, staff, and students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.”  IDEALS was initiated in 2004, based upon recommendations from from CITES and the University Library.  The first file deposits were made in September 2005.  There are currently more than 75,000 works in IDEALS.  IDEALS is part of the University Library‘s holistic digital preservation program.

The Prairie Research Institute has a community in IDEALS which holds our in-house publications and reports.  There are currently more than 5,700 works in our growing community, which is one of the largest departmental communities in IDEALS.  There were more than 25,000 downloads of Prairie Research Institute content this month alone.  IDEALS is not just for departments, however.  IDEALS is available for all students, staff, and faculty to use as an archive of their work.  Guidelines for deposit into IDEALS are below, and are presented in detail on the IDEALS website:

  • Work to be deposited should be “wholly or in part produced or sponsored by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty, researchers, staff, or students.”
  • Work should be “finished;” that is, you should not intend to edit files once deposited.
  • Work should comply with the IDEALS copyright and intellectual property policy.
  • Files of all types are accepted, but note that certain formats are more amenable to long-term preservation.

Services provided by IDEALS include persistent URLs (handles) for deposited works, long-term preservation of files, high visibility in web searches, full text searching, and download monitoring for deposited works.  Although open sharing of deposited content is recommended, it is permissible to restrict access completely, to specific user groups, or for a specified “embargo” period.  Here are some ways you can use IDEALS, and reasons to do so:

  • Archive your presentations.  You can share your presentation with colleagues immediately and in perpetuity by depositing slides and text into IDEALS.

Why do this?  Some conference or workshop proceedings are never published, or are published only partially or temporarily.  Archiving and sharing from IDEALS insures a permanent home and persistent link for your presentation files.

  • Archive your manuscripts.  Most publishers do not allow authors to post the final published version of their own articles on their websites or networking tools such as ResearchGate (see Can you post your article on your profile?).   Many publishers do, however, allow authors to deposit accepted, post-review, corrected manuscripts into institutional or disciplinary repositories.  You can check publisher policies on institutional repository deposit and other author rights matters in the SHERPA/RoMEO directory, and by carefully reviewing publisher copyright transfer agreements, preferably before signing your rights away.

Why do this?  When publishers allow it, depositing into an institutional repository is one way authors can legally provide open access to their work without paying additional fees to the publisher.   The IDEALS record can include a link to the final published version of the article, and the manuscript in IDEALS allows any researcher at any institution to read and cite your work, even if they do not have access to the journal.

  • Link to your work in IDEALS from your online vita or website.  Use IDEALS links to provide access to your work from your own web pages rather than storing files locally.

Why do this?  The IDEALS record has a persistent URL, so you will never need to update the link.   Using the IDEALS infrastructure, which is supported at the campus level, saves local server space and maintenance cost.

  • Request an IDEALS community for your research program. Related works can be gathered into communities and collections.  Ask your librarian to create a community to gather the work from your research program into one place in IDEALS.

Why do this? Gathering your program output into one community provides a single place for users to access your research, and it allows you to track downloads of all program work in aggregate.

Further reading and resources:

Note:  The Illinois Data Bank provides curation services specifically for data, including DataCite DOIs.  Launched in May 2016 as a service of the Illinois Research Data Service, the Illinois Data Bank is the University of Illinois’ preservation repository for data.


(Maybe) not lost and gone forever: the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine

Impermanence is a concern for most web content.   Commitments change, projects and funding end, institutional priorities shift, organizations  dissolve, and any of this can lead to the ‘unpublishing’ of web pages or entire sites, often without warning.  When a website you use–or one on which your work was once published–disappears, there is hope.

The Wayback Machine has archived 430 billion web pages from 1996 to the present, and allows you to see web pages as they were at multiple points in the past.  Web pages and other digital objects (e.g., pdf files) from sites it has crawled can be accessed from the archive.

To find a lost page or site:

  1. Enter the old web address for the site into the search box.
    (You do need to know the web address.)
  2. The Wayback Machine will return a calendar highlighting the dates on which the site was crawled and archived.  (See this sample search result for a listing of symposium proceedings which can no longer be found on the original host’s website.)
  3. Click on a date to see that website or page as it appeared that date.

Archive on demand.  “Save Page Now” allows you to archive a web page you are citing on demand via the Wayback Machine to ensure that information you cite is preserved (as you viewed it)–even if the hosting organization later edits the page or deletes it entirely.  The feature provides a persistent link to the archived page in the Wayback Machine.

Limitations.  Content that is restricted by publishers is excluded.  Pages that do not allow crawlers are excluded.  The functionality of interactive databases is not preserved.

Internet Archive.  The Wayback Machine is part of the Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose purposes include “offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.”   In addition to the Wayback Machine, the Internet Archive offers open access collections of digital documents and media.   Learn more about the effort of the Internet Archive to “change the content of the Internet from ephemera to enduring artifacts of our political and cultural lives.”

Want to be sure your paper or presentation is safely archived?  See “How you can use IDEALS and why you should” for information about depositing your work into the University of Illinois institutional repository for safekeeping.

Originally posted 9/22/2014 on the Prairie Research Institute Library’s blog “News from the Library.”

Can you post your article on your profile?

Professional networking sites (e.g., ResearchGate, may encourage you to upload PDFs of your published articles to your profile.  Be aware that you may not always have the right to do this.  Elsevier has issued take-down notices to for PDFs of Elsevier articles posted by researchers to their profiles, in accordance with the primary purpose of the site, which is “to share research papers.”

Authors may be surprised and dismayed to learn that their right to post their own work on their own profile, website, or to deposit it in an institutional or disciplinary repository may be limited by their choice of publication venue and by the copyright transfer agreement which they signed when their work was accepted.

Authors do have rights.   The best time to exercise them is at the submission and acceptance stages of the publication process–before signing them away to a restrictive publisher.  Here are some resources that can help:

  • SHERPA/Romeo – A clearinghouse of publisher policies toward sharing, self-archiving, and other author rights issues.  Search by journal title or publisher.  Know before you submit!
  • SHERPA/JULIET – A clearinghouse of research funding agencies’ open access requirements.  What does the funder of your research require?
  • Your Rights as an Author – The University Library’s Scholarly Commons explains it all for you, including tips for negotiating the terms of copyright transfer.

Have questions?  You can always ask a librarian!

Read more about Elsevier’s actions:

Originally posted on the Prairie Research Institute Library blog on 12/10/2013

Data and Citation Management training opportunities

Data Management Workshops:  The Research Data Service is offering a series of workshops on data management starting on February 16.   These include Intro to Data Management, Documentation and Organization for Data and Processes, and Making Research Data Public.  Detailed descriptions and registration links are here.

Citation Management Workshops for Institute staff:  As you may have heard, the University is cancelling its subscription to Refworks.  Bring your lunch and learn about alternatives for citation management in this series of three workshops, taught by the University Library’s Savvy Researcher trainers. Bring your laptops so you can test drive Mendeley and Zotero during the workshops. Workshops will be held at ISTC in the Stephen Warner Conference Room. Coffee, tea, and cookies will be provided. Please RSVP.  Thanks to Laura Barnes for arranging these sessions and to ISTC for hosting!

  • Mon, Feb 22, noon-1 pm, Choosing a Citation Manager  RSVP
  • Mon, Feb 29, noon-1 pm, Getting Organized with Mendeley RSVP
  • Mon, March 7, noon-1 pm, Managing Your Citations with Zotero  RSVP