scholarly communication


Screen shot of DP.LA Home page featuring Primary Resource Sets

DP.LA – Digital Public Library of America offers new curated Primary Resource sets (from over 11.5 million items)

An exciting new development in the growing treasures made available through the Digital Public Library of America.  DPLA, in conjunction with educators, librarians and historians, have started to develop curated sets of primary resources to help faculty encourage engagement with primary resources and cultural heritage items. Selected sets cover the Visual Art During the Harlem Renaissance, women in World War II, Transatlantic slave trade, and more.

“DPLA Primary Source Sets are designed to help students develop their critical thinking skills by exploring topics in history, literature, and culture through primary sources. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to related resources, and a teaching guide. “

Additionally, DPLA offers a video of their November 3rd Workshop “Using DPLA for Teaching and Learning” to help faculty and students in finding and curating collections that are pertinent to their own work.

From the folks who brought you the “way back machine” (the cache of old websites as they were) and the Internet Archive (an expanded digital archive of free books, movies, software, music , built in conjunction with libraries) comes an offer from Brewster Kahle to create new community-tools and a “call for feedback” from smaller communities who have collections that need digitization, and who want to deposit directly into the IA:

We are creating new tools to help every media-based community build their own collections on a long term platform that is available to the entire world for free. Collectors will be able to upload media, reference media from other collections, use tools to coordinate the activities of their community, and create a distinct Internet presence while also offering users the chance to explore diverse collections of other content.

In this future, communities and libraries will take the central role in building collections, leveraging the tools and storage of the Internet Archive.

Since Internet Archive is already a partner with Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), it will be wonderful to see more collections discoverable through a federated search.

picture of 4 coin-operated video arcade games

Do you remember video arcade games?

And to keep it all fun (as well as exciting) they have opened up their latest experiment:  The Internet Arcade:  “a web-based library of arcade (coin-operated) video games from the 1970s through to the 1990s, emulated in JSMAME, part of the JSMESS software package.”

The 2013 Digital Humanities awards came out relatively recently, offering an array of amazing projects to peruse — some public, some academic, all worth a gander.  It is worth highlighting that the best InfoGraphic award covered statistics on why “Humanities Matter” [PDF]  — making the infographic a meta-DH project of sorts.

As a follow-up to the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities’ “Quantifying Digital Humanities” infographic from 2012 (PDF), The Humanities Matter! starts a more expansive effort by the Center and 4Humanities to gather statistics and create infographics about the humanities. The Humanities Matter! is part of the 4Humanities Humanities Infographics initiative, including Infographics Friday online posts.

Another DH-for-fun award went to Serendip-o-matic — which acts as a federated-serendipitous-search engine:  insert a block of text, and the applet finds related images culled from the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and Europeana digital Libraries.

If you are curious about Digital Humanities at St. John’s, the next CTL Interdisciplinary Roundtable discussion will focus on Digital Humanities, on Monday April 7th; where Jen Travis will facilitate discussions about “projects and pedagogies of this emerging field.”  If you are interested in learning more about creating infographics, or using them as an alternative research project, the University Libraries are hosting an edutech workshop on infographics on Wed. April 2nd.  Does unearthing the treasures of the DPLA sound appealing?  Does making your own a mash-up of the DPLA resource-data sound sound intriguing ?  If so, join us Wednesday, April 9th, for a workshop on DPLA and engage with new treasure trove of primary resources and the meta-data that makes it tick!

The plagiarism stories that get the most coverage in the news revolve around authors [e.g.: Markham, Viswanathan],  journalists [e.g.: Blair,  Marr] , politicians [e.g.: Senator BidenMinister Guttenberg ],  or academics [students to Harvard Professors]  — these cases seem especially newsworthy as they are folks who “should know better.”   Thus, it is more than a little disconcerting when the Chronicle features an article that essentially says we should give up on being “obsessed” with citation in academia.

While we may be familiar with publishing companies pulling novels after discovering plagiarized plot-lines and passages, or universities pulling degrees from plagiarized theses,  it is worth noting that it is often not the editors nor professors, but the reading public, who are “discovering” the plagiarism.  Of course plagiarism is not limited to the written word, but also to paintings, photos, music-sampling, methodologies, etc.  Web Search engines and software like Turnitin make it easy enough to discover these cases,  and the social web allows for quick dissemination of these accusations — whether list-servs, discussion boards, blogs, Facebook or twitter.  It seems that although we shouldn’t be obsessed with citation mechanics, the functions of proper citation are appreciated by the public at large…so let’s not give up on our StJ students quite yet.

The Libraries and the LEAD program have worked together on a plagiarism workshop in the “Academic track” of the LEAD program. Many student-leaders might struggle with their own academic writing, but they also co-ordinate their organization’s correspondence, write newsletters, update news on Facebook/twitter pages etc.  LEAD and the libraries try to help these students avoid the pitfalls of poor research, poor citation, and copyright infringement in a social-web world and to  “understand the impact that technology could have on organizational [and academic] communications, not only in terms of both the commission and the discovery of plagiarism, but in the quick dissemination of ill-researched information or mis-information. We also thought they also needed to be aware that the “re-mix/mashup” mentality among students could have ethical and legal ramifications for organizational leaders who have official publication venues” (Maio & Shaughnessy, 2012).

The LEAD plagiarism workshops are scheduled twice each semester, but if you would like to request a workshop for your department or club, we stand ready to help out anytime, with this topic, or to help you tailor a workshop session for your class/group.

For more information on the LEAD certificate program, visit their site.

For more information on the Libraries’ resources about plagiarism and citation consult our LibGuides on Plagiarism, Proper citation (why we cite) , RefWorks (how to cite), Turnitin (how unitinentional plagairism can be identified) the relationship between copyright and plagiarism, creative commons, and why plagiarism still makes news!

(Forthcoming 2011).   Maio, N and K.G. Shaughnessy. “Promoting Collaborative Leaders In The St. John’s University Community”  Libraries and student affairs in collaboration.  Hinchliffe, Lisa Janicke and Melissa Wong, eds.  Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

The recent  article from 8/31/2010 issue of CHE takes up a new wrinkle in the Google Books project.  The article “Google’s Book Search: A Disaster for Scholars” recounts the issues surrounding the big-buzz question “what will Google do with the books once scanned” and goes on to another practical question: “Can Google possibly live up to the professed goals of the ‘Google Books Library’ project?”  If Google scanned all the scholarly-library-donated-books in order to facilitate  discoverability of  lost treasures, the metadata needed to facilitate a scholarly search needs to be reliable and standardized enough (think library cataloging by subject specialists) to help the researcher find the relevant material across the database objects.

But to pose those [research-based] questions, you need reliable metadata about dates and categories, which is why it’s so disappointing that the book search’s metadata are a train wreck: a mishmash wrapped in a muddle wrapped in a mess.

Jon Orwant, the person responsible for metadata in the GoogleBooks project has posted his own thoughtful responses in the comments area of Nunberg’s  “illustrated” version of the article (and in keeping with web-2.0 publication vagaries, the illustrated version and comments are dated 8/29!)

Of course, while library catalogues and databases try to be slaves to consistent metadata, we often work with whatever we can get in order to make sure that our researchers have access to their needed information in as many venues as possible.  Thus, we note with some pleasure that the earlier Google Scholar project — which deals primarily with scholarly articles and citations from scholarly bibliographies — does not suffer as much on the metadata end, but this is because the basic-but-standard bibliographic metadata is generated by the authors themselves, and therefore tend to be more reliable (as reliable as scholars are careful!) .

Libraries have also worked with Google Scholar to facilitate Check for full text linking to a patron’s “home” university library for full-text access to cited articles (in the preferences options).  St. John’s Libraries and WorldCat are automatically added to  GoogleScholar results if you are using computers in the labs, but if you would like to add this “Check  for Full Text” feature to your work or home computer, and find a way to add GS citations to your RefWorks folder, use this tutorial.

Here’s hoping that the GoogleBooks efforts are fruitful and that we can look forward to Google’s transparency and co-operation with libraries and librarians — who have been their precursors and constant companions in the effort to  promote wider-access-to and reliable-metadata-for the information people seek to improve their research or their lives.

We noted in a prior blog entry that COPE Open Access Scholarship in the Humanities and Social sciences are gaining ground and are explicitly recognizing that access to scholarship shouldn’t be limited to those Universities which can pay increasingly prohibitive costs for access through publishers and vendors. We also have noted Good Cop/ Bad Cop issues with Harvard whose Business publisher is are “trying to charge Universities even more to deep-link to articles for which most University Libraries have already paid both high prices to the publisher and the vendor for access” And of course, we have been following the Google-Books courts cases with an eager eye.

If you are interested seeing how it all comes together, you might check out this week’s Publishers Weekly article:

While the high-profile Google settlement has captured the attention of the publishing industry at large, a contentious copyright infringement lawsuit filed in Atlanta in 2008 by academic publishers against four individuals at Georgia State University has quietly progressed. And while a New York court now considers whether to approve the sweeping Google deal, a court in Atlanta could yet deliver something that publishers expressly chose to avoid in their settlement with Google: a fair use ruling.

  • “A Failure to Communicate” Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly (June 14, 2010) by features editor: http://bit.ly/95SpB4

You might also find the following articles of interest for more background on the Georgia case from an academic library perspective.

  • “Implication of the Georgia State e-reserves case.” Barbara Fister, Library Journal, (April 1, 2010) http://bit.ly/cfxoLL

For more on how university libraries (including our own) have been dealing with the escalating costs of current scholarly publishing-and-distribution platforms — which basically require an academic library to pay for access to the same articles anywhere from two-to four separate times — check out our LIbLog “open movement” entries which work towards convincing Academic Communities that Open Access publishing is a wiser way to go.

While we offer a number of workshops regarding library research — including  the finding, evaluating, organizing, citing, and publishing of research  —  the issue of “plagiarism” rivals both “bad research” and “disinformation”  in terms of  academic and professional concerns.

The library is proud to work in conjunction with the LEAD program to offer workshops to student leaders who would like to more fully understand the issues behind plagiarism and the fallout of  plagiarism outside the university.*    Our next Joint  Library-LEAD session will be on March 23rd during Common Hour.  For more information and registration for this workshop, please click here.  

L.E.A.D. (Leadership, Education, And Development) is a non-credit program of individual and group training, workshops and overnight conferences dedicated to helping St. John’s University students interested in developing and enhancing their leadership skills. Sponsored by the Department of Student Life, L.E.A.D. complements the student’s education by teaching skills and providing students with the tools necessary for effective leadership.  Through the student’s involvement in L.E.A.D., he or she will begin to hone their knowledge and understanding of time management, decision-making, proper planning, critical thinking, oral presentation and much more.

For more information on LEAD, see their website)   For more information about the LEAD Student Leadership Program or Women In Leadership Program, contact Natalie Maio at (718) 990-2103 or LEAD@stjohns.edu.  For questions about the Servant Leadership Program, contact Maggie Bach at (718) 990-7681 or LEAD@stjohns.edu.

(* As noted in an earlier entry,  plagiarism is not the same as copyright violation, although one issue may “complicate” the other, inside or outside the university) .

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