Digital Scholarship @ The Libraries

Inspiring innovative digital scholarship at the OSU Libraries and beyond

Category: Events (page 1 of 2)

Beyond the Nuts and Bolts: Blogs as Publishing

Editing icon by Luis Prado on the Noun ProjectThis (very long) post is based on a Libraries’ workshop on blogging, held on 5/27/15, which was the second in a two-part series. View the original slides for this workshop here. Part one of the series was taught by Beth Snapp, and was titled  “Carousels, Drop-Down Menus, and Forms: Little Known Features of OSUL Blogs.” 

Why should librarians blog?

If you are reading this, the odds are you don’t think blogging in libraries is a complete waste of time. Nevertheless, I’d like to open with a brief discussion of what I see as the most compelling reasons for us to put our time and energy into blog-based publishing. I think of this list, collectively, as The Visible Library. (It’s a play on the phrase “The Invisible Library,” which is used to refer to those books that only exist in fiction.) All of these are ways in which blogging can provide greater visiblity to libraries and the work of librarianship:

  • News and updates: Since they are easy to use and allow for chronological, serial posting, blogs are a good platform for announcements about services, collections, facilities, and upcoming events.
  • Broaden the reach of our events: Speaking of events, we have too many of them that are completely invisible and inaccessible to anyone who wasn’t able – because of time or geography – to attend in person. Blogs can be used to distribute write-ups of events, to share research or interesting work done during the planning phase, or to continue the discussion afterwards.
  • Educate users and peers: This one’s pretty self-explanatory.
  • Tailored discovery: In our broad discussions about the principles of library discovery last fall, one of the ideas that consistently rose to the top was the need to provide tailored discovery environments for different groups. That’s a really tricky thing to do in traditional discovery environments (like the catalog), but a fairly easy thing to do in a blog environment. A blog can serve as an entry point into the library for a specific user group, where resources, services, and events of possible interest to that group are aggregated and described in accessible terms.
  • Make the work of librarianship more visible: I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for this one. The work of librarianship is fascinating, and largely invisible to folks outside of it. It includes intensive research and innovative teaching, interesting (if geeky) technical processes, and the development of cutting-edge services. One of the best ways we can advocate for ourselves and advance professional practice is to show people – users and peers – what we do.

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Hackathon in the Library 2014

With nearly double the students in attendance, this year’s hackathon was an overwhelming success.

What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is “an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects.” A hackathon lasts anywhere from 8 hours to a couple of days, typically fueled by caffeine and pizza. In 2013 the first Ohio State hackathon was held for 24 hours. The full report from that hackathon is available here:

Why a hackathon at Ohio State?

The goal of the event was to foster a tech culture amongst students at Ohio State and cultivate technical talent in Columbus and the Ohio region. “OHI/O” — Ohio State’s Annual 36-hour Hackathon and programming contest was held Friday October 3rd through Sunday October 5th. Over 200 undergraduate and graduate student programmers built working software and demonstrated them to a live audience of students, faculty, and representatives from tech companies. Students competed for over $5000 in prizes and were judged on categories including technical difficulty, creativity, usefulness, and presentation. Projects ranged from music apps, to a Google Glass project that put people in context, to an app to check in which had applications in doctor’s offices as well as class room attendance. One team used a Raspberry Pi and inkjet printer motors to rake a zen garden.

Why is the library involved?

The Ohio State University Libraries are co-conceivers of this event because it positions student learning in a fast-paced environment. The libraries have the infrastructure in building spaces that can hold the participants, there is enough bandwidth within the library to handle the amount of traffic that the students require for their hackathon projects, and the library is open 24 hours, so little extra staff is needed and separate procedures are not required. Additionally, students have commented that they enjoyed the library support of this event and that it encouraged them to “think of the library as supporting their entire academic career- both for classes as well as for fun.”

Suggestions from some of the hackers this year included projects that might be in the queue for next year: “It would be cool if you guys had an app that everyone downloads before that sends SMS alerts or in app notifications like “It’s time for dinner!” or other important messages so that people who aren’t right next to the headquarters knows what is going on.

Other comments included: “Enjoyed the opportunity to build an application from start to finish. I learned a lot and truly understood how to apply my classroom/personal learnings.”

“I felt like I got a lot done and really accomplished something cool. I enjoyed working with my team. We will continue working on our project, so it helped us get off the ground.”

One of the changes this year was that we focused on providing a healthier culture around the hackathon. Mentors were on call round the clock to provide guidance and support. The timeline was extended from 24 hours to 36 hours, to allow for time to take a break, get some rest (and maybe, shower). The variety of food provided included healthy snacks from nuts to veggies, and all meals had options for dietary restrictions. While there was ample coffee, there were also other choices of beverages including tea, hot chocolate, and water.

A video of the event festivities is available here:

Fall 2014 meeting of the Editors’ Group


Stage curtains

Image by Flickr user sarflondondunc, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

All OSU faculty, staff, and students who edit scholarly journals are welcome to join the OSU Journal Editors’ Group for its fall quarterly meeting. 

Tuesday, October 7th, 1-2pm
Thompson Library, room 165

Topic: A Look Behind the Curtain: How Libraries Decide What to Buy
Jan Maxwell, Collections Strategist, OSU Libraries

The meeting will consist mainly of open discussion on the topic. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP by email to Melanie Schlosser.

Upcoming Research Commons workshops on Digital Scholarship-related topics

If you haven’t already heard, the Libraries will soon be opening a sparkling new Research Commons on the third floor of the 18th Avenue Library. Aimed at faculty, graduate students, and others who are engaged in research, the RC will be

both a space and a suite of services to support researchers at Ohio State.  With the Research Commons, you can attend educational and training workshops, be referred to other research support services across campus, schedule consultations with our expert partners, and showcase your research output to the broader university community.”

While the physical space isn’t going to be ready until 2016, the RC is kicking off programming this fall with a series of workshops.  The Copyright Resources Center recently blogged about the workshops they’re facilitating. Not to be outdone, here are the ones that Maureen and I are contributing to:

Opening Access to Your Research: Strategies for Digital Scholarship

Curious about ways to disseminate your work online? Thinking about creating a website or blog to showcase your research? Wondering what your options are for publishing digital content at Ohio State? Join ODEE and the Libraries Publishing Program to learn more about increasing the visibility and impact of your research through digital scholarship.

BYOD: Bring your own device for hands-on demonstrations of and tools offered by the Libraries Publishing Program.

Who: OSU faculty, postdocs, and graduates

When: Friday, October 24, 10:00am – 12:00pm

Where: 18th Avenue Library, Room 070/090

Undisciplined Research: Planning and Publishing Across Disciplinary Boundaries

Looking for collaborators in other disciplines at Ohio State? Want to hear about options for sharing your work digitally or starting a new open access journal? Join ODEE and the Libraries’ Digital Content Services to learn more about valuable tools for finding collaborators and making your work more accessible to researchers in other disciplines.

BYOD: Bring your own device for hands-on demonstrations of Research In View, the Knowledge Bank, and tools offered by the Libraries Publishing Program.

Who: OSU faculty and postdocs

When: Friday, November 14, 10:00am – 12:00pm

Where: 18th Avenue Library, Room 070/090

 You may also be interested in workshops on organizing your research data, and using images in the digital world, as well as a panel this Friday on the Department of Energy Public Access Plan. See the Research Commons events schedule for details on all of those.  

The HathiTrust Research Center at OSU

Yesterday, the Libraries had the pleasure of a visit by three representatives of the HathiTrust Research Center.  The HTRC exists to facilitate scholarly work with the large corpus of digitized materials in the HathiTrust repository. Their goal is to “to help meet the technical challenges of dealing with massive amounts of digital text that researchers face by developing cutting-edge software tools and cyber infrastructure.” Our guests – Robert McDonald, Miao Chen, and Zong Peng – provided a high-level overview of the Research Center, facilitated a hands-on session with some of the data and tools, and led us in a community discussion about local interest in text mining and the HathiTrust corpus.

Attendees at the hands-on workshop learn to access and mine data from the HathiTrust

Attendees at the hands-on workshop learn to access and mine data from the HathiTrust

There was a lot of information presented about how the HTRC came into being, its current architecture and projects, and plans for its future. I think the most useful thing for me, though, was getting a better sense of their current capabilities for – and attitude towards – working with researchers who want to use the data.

They want people to use the data and take advantage of the tool set they are building. It’s not only their primary reason for being, it’s also necessary to the development process to have users who can contribute to testing and requirements gathering. That said, the HTRC architecture and services are still very much a work in progress, and are not yet in a place where lots of unmediated, self-service research is possible. That means that most research projects will require an investment of HTRC staff time to facilitate, and staff time is, naturally, at a premium. So what do you do when you need people to use your services, but your services are still in development? You prioritize, of course. The HTRC is focusing on a small number of research projects where the researcher is: 1. at a HathiTrust member institution (which OSU is!), and 2. willing to partner with them on the necessary development. This is not to say that they aren’t willing to support other projects, especially if they can do so in a simple way – like a data dump that the researcher can manipulate locally.

The other really interesting thing for me was to learn about how carefully they are walking the line between facilitating research and protecting the copyrighted material in the HT from unsanctioned access and use. Legal action around the Google Books project and the HathiTrust has meant heightened scrutiny of security measures at all levels. As with other uses of copyrighted material, the focus seems to be on figuring out what is the smallest amount of access necessary to accomplish the research at hand, and on facilitating that access in a responsible way. It’s not an easy task, but I was impressed with how well they were handling it.

If you are interested in working with the data in the HathiTrust, I would encourage you to contact Miao Chen, the Assistant Director for Education and Outreach, at

Digital Humanities Lecture, October 20th, 12pm

Please join us on Monday, October 20th, from noon-1pm in Thompson Library room 165, for a presentation by our colleagues Brian Joseph (OSU Linguistics and Slavic) and Christopher Brown (OSU Classics):

Computational Humanities – Bridging the Gap between Computer Science and Digital Humanities (A report on the Dagstuhl seminar)

This summer’s Dagstuhl Seminar on Computational Humanities sought to boost the rapidly emerging interdisciplinary field of Computational Humanities by bringing together leading researchers in the (digital) humanities and computational analysis. We will report on our participation in the seminar, its projects and participants, and our own work both in the Dagstuhl working group on Lexicon and Literature and on the OSU Herodotos Project for Ancient Ethnohistory.

This presentation is sponsored by the OSU Libraries Research Commons.

6th Annual Knowledge Bank Users Group Meeting

NewKBLogo-2014On May 13, 2014, thirty-four faculty and staff from around The Ohio State University joined the Knowledge Bank team in the Thompson Library for the Sixth Annual Knowledge Bank Users Group Meeting. Participants included long-standing and established partners as well as new partners of our institutional repository and publishing programs.

KBUG2014aThis year we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Knowledge Bank. The meeting included a retrospective of the past ten years of the Knowledge Bank, an update on the publishing program and Open Access mandates, and an interactive program focused on the Libraries’ research services. The presentation slides from the meeting are available via the Knowledge Bank.

The Knowledge Bank team would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of our partners for making this year’s event a huge success. The continued participation and input from our partners is invaluable to us and we appreciate the opportunity to gather as a group to talk about our goals and accomplishments.

If you have comments about this year’s meeting, or suggestions for next year, please let us know.

Wikipedian-in-Residence visit


Last Friday, the Libraries was treated to a visit by Michael Barera, the University of Michigan School of Information student who served as the Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library last winter. Michael gave a public presentation and met with a number of individuals and groups here at the Libraries to talk about his experience. He gave a great overview of the work he did at the Ford, and of how Wikipedia works behind-the-scenes. I attended the presentation and a small group meeting, and left with some interesting takeaways that I wanted to share. These were by no means the focus of his talk, or of the majority of the conversation, but they are the bits that jumped out at me.

Wikipedia v. Flickr

Michael is a prolific photographer, and he posts his images to a gallery on Wikimedia Commons. Following Commons policy, he releases his photographs under a Creative Commons license (his choice is CC BY-SA). In the Q&A period after his talk, someone asked Michael why he chooses to share his images on Commons, rather than Flickr. His answer should provide food for thought for libraries who share their images on third-party sites. He gave two main reasons. 1. He prefers that his images support a non-profit entity such as Wikimedia, rather than a commercial outfit like Yahoo! (owner of Flickr). 2. While there are fewer images on Wikimedia Commons (and partly because there are fewer images), the description and categorization functions are far superior to Flickr’s. He described some interesting uses of his work that were made possible by open licensing and discoverability. Both of these are legitimate considerations for libraries, and his answer inspired me to put Commons on my mental list of options for increasing access to digitized library collections.

Getting started with Wikipedia

Michael was asked a number of times how we could ‘grow our own’ Wikipedians. His answers invariably stressed that it is easier to incorporate an existing Wikipedian into the library than to turn a librarian into a Wikipedian. He gave as reasons the patience and persistence required to become an editor, and the need to develop the trust of the editing community – neither of which is a trivial undertaking. When pressed, however, he gave a great piece of advice on how to get started editing Wikipedia. First, create an account on the site. Second, sign into it whenever you visit Wikipedia. Third, if you find a typo while you’re reading, correct it. Fixing typos is not glamorous work, but it will build your confidence and start to develop a solid editing record that is visible to the community through your user page. Guess what’s on my to-do list for this week?

Teaching Wikipedia

Before meeting Michael, I was unaware of the extent to which the Wikipedia community supports using its various sites as teaching tools. In fact, there is an entire Wikipedia Education Program. There’s also a lot of great information on the Outreach Wiki about other education-related initiatives, including Wikipedia student clubs, and the GLAM project. Michael also shared with us this video on a project by a Michigan chemistry professor to improve student writing by having them edit Wikipedia.

Looking ahead…

I believe we are still exploring the possibility of having our own Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Libraries, and I hope we find a way to make it happen. It would be a challenging assignment at a place this size, but last Friday’s event convinced me that the opportunities are definitely worth it.

OSU Libraries Lecture on Transnational Literate Lives


Transnational Literate Lives: Stories of Lives in Digital Times
A Lecture by Distinguished Professor Cynthia Selfe
Thompson Library Room 165
Monday, November 4, 2013

Light refreshments provided

Please join the Ohio State University Libraries for a lecture from Humanities Distinguished Professor, Dr. Cynthia Selfe, on the co-authored, born-digital work, Transnational Literate Lives in Digital Times, designed “to document how people outside and within the United States take up digital literacies and fold them into the fabric of their daily lives.”

This work of scholarship incorporates textual, audio, and video narratives to form the book length project accessible online from publisher Computers and Composition Digital Press. This event is sponsored by the Ohio State University Libraries Global Crossroads Steering Group.

Free Webinar to Kick Off Open Access Week 2013

Editor’s Note: We will feature Open Access-related content on the blog all week to celebrate International Open Access Week. Keep an eye on the ‘OA Week‘ tag to see more.

For six years now the OSU Libraries has set aside time, first one day and now a full week, to recognize open access publishing issues and initiatives.   We’ve hosted some lively debates and thought-provoking workshops.  This year we will be highlighting a few national programs and discussions.

OAweekLogoOn Monday, October 21, SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and the World Bank will kick start Open Access Week with a 60-minute panel discussion, Open Access: Redefining Impact.  Panelists will discuss changing methods for measuring scholarly output.

The session will be recorded so you can choose to join it live or view at your convenience.  The event is scheduled to begin at 3:00pm (Eastern).  A list of panelists and instructions for accessing the webcast are available on the event website.

By the way, if you are new to the concept of open access or need a quick overview to use when explaining it to others, Peter Suber’s Brief Introduction will probably do the trick.

— Lynda Hartel

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