Posted by: Julie Jersyk
“ …Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” So the saying goes. But used carefully, statistics can be powerful allies in backing up an assertion or strengthening an argument. With that in mind, the library’s social sciences team has created a Guide to Social Science Statistics. The guide points the way to facts and figures collected by government, commercial and private entities arranged under topics such as demographics, health, business/economics, education, sports, energy/environment and more. The guide strives to include all major sources of statistical information, but if you don’t find the number you are looking for, ask a librarian.
Posted in: Research Online
Posted by: Hillary Corbett
On Thursday, November 14, 2013, eight years after the Authors Guild sued that Google Book Search violated the rights of authors, Judge Denny Chin finally handed down his decision (PDF) on the lawsuit. The Internet giant’s project to scan millions of books held by academic libraries was found to “[advance] the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders.”
Advocates of fair use are applauding Judge Chin’s decision. Brandon Butler, formerly Director of Public Policy Initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries (and a co-facilitator in the development of the ARL’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries), calls the decision “a powerful affirmation of the value of research libraries.” The Library Copyright Alliance, which last year issued an amicus brief in the case, quoted leaders of library organizations in a press release issued yesterday:
“ALA applauds the decision to dismiss the long running Google Books case. This ruling furthers the purpose of copyright by recognizing that Google’s Book search is a transformative fair use that advances research and learning.” – Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association
“This decision, along with the decision by Judge Baer in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, makes clear that fair use permits mass digitization of books for purposes that advance the arts and sciences, such as search, preservation, and access for the print-disabled.”
– Carol Pitts Diedrichs, president of the Association of Research Libraries
“I echo the comments of my colleagues that this ruling, that strongly supports fair use principles, enables the discovery of a wealth of resources by researchers and scholars. Google Book search also makes searchable literally millions of books by students and others with visual disabilities. This is a tremendous opportunity for all our communities.” – Trevor A. Dawes, president of the Association of College & Research Libraries
Inevitably, the Authors Guild has already announced its plan to appeal the decision. And some critics, while perhaps not siding with the Authors Guild, have questioned Google’s motives in embarking on the project – readers’ privacy is uncertain, for example. Google has also been criticized for providing low-quality or sometimes just incorrect metadata for the books it has scanned. But having access to such an enormous textual corpus, despite its flaws, is a boon for researchers working in the field of natural language processing — Brandon Butler lauds the decision as “a victory…for transformative, non-consumptive search” — as well as for the visually disabled.
Posted in: Information and Society, Research Online, Scholarly Communications
Posted by: Hillary Corbett
When the Northeastern University Libraries launched IRis in 2006, the idea of an “institutional repository” was still fairly new. Universities were starting repositories to share their intellectual and administrative output – faculty-authored articles, dissertations and theses, student-run publications, university-created reports, and other documents. Seven years later, many more colleges and universities around the world have digital repositories of open access materials created by their faculty, students, and staff. These repositories often also host open-access journals and other publications – at Northeastern, IRis has hosted the Annals of Environmental Science since 2007, and also provides access to faculty-authored and -edited books.
IRis began with only a few collections in 2006, but has grown exponentially since then. Today, IRis contains over 6,000 items, and as of Tuesday, October 15, 2013, these items have been downloaded one million times!
Although it’s not possible to determine which one item received the lucky one-millionth download, we know that on that day, 649 items were downloaded 1147 times. Here’s a breakdown of the types of materials downloaded that day:
Here are top downloads in each category, for October 15, 2013:
- Book: Literatura judía latinoamericana contemporánea: una antología / Literatura judaica latino-americana contemporânea: uma antologia / Contemporary Jewish Latin American literature: an anthology (Stephen A. Sadow, editor, 2013)
- Dissertation/Thesis: The Evolution of Police Organizations and Leadership in the United States: Potential Political and Social Implications (Alice Elizabeth Perry, 2010)
- Faculty Publication: “The Network Structure of Exploration and Exploitation” (David Lazer & Allan Friedman, 2007)
- NU-Edited Journal Article: “Characterization of Designer Biochar Produced at Different Temperatures and Their Effects on a Loamy Sand” (Jeffrey M. Novak, et al., Annals of Environmental Science vol. 3, 2009)
- NU Publication: Using Classroom Assessment Data to Improve Student Learning (Center for Effective University Teaching, 2001)
- Research Center Publication: The Consequences of Dropping Out of High School: Joblessness and Jailing for High School Dropouts and the High Cost for Taxpayers (Center for Labor Market Studies, 2009)
- Undergraduate Work: “Design of a solar powered fruit and vegetable dryer” (Ryan Blair, et al., 2005)
As you can see, slightly more than half of the items downloaded were dissertations or master’s theses. An important contributor to the growth of IRis has been the university’s transition to an Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) program in the 2007-2008 academic year – instead of depositing print copies of dissertations and master’s theses in the library’s archives, graduate students now submit their ETDs to ProQuest and an open-access copy is made available through IRis. Both undergraduate and graduate research output is very popular in IRis – in fact, almost every month our most highly accessed collection is the Honors Junior/Senior Projects!
In the coming months, we will be expanding on the success of IRis with DRS – Northeastern University’s Digital Repository Service. The DRS will offer even more functionality for users and depositors, such as more flexible sharing options, the ability to manage permissions, and options for curated and noncurated collections.
Posted in: Library News and Events, Research Online, Scholarly Communications, Serendipity
Posted by: Amira Aaron
Today’s government shutdown is affecting access to information at Northeastern and all libraries, whether directly or indirectly. We’ll do our best to post alerts about web sites that are unavailable on our database A-Z list.
There are different effects depending on the government agency. For example, web sites that support essential services, such as the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, which supports federal law enforcement, are up and running. Other sites are running but are not being updated, such as PubMed and MedlinePlus.
Some sites are completely down, such as the Department of Education’s ERIC database, but the library purchases ERIC information through private third party vendors and so fortunately we can make ERIC available to the NU community. Census.gov is also down, although some of the information there may be available in SimplyMap.
We’ve also noticed effects on our behind-the-scenes work. We are unable to order PDF articles from the National Library of Medicine, and we’re unable to do some database maintenance that relies on information from the Library of Congress. That won’t affect you in the short term, but we hope the situation is temporary so it doesn’t have long term effects!
Learn more about how the shutdown is affecting libraries here.
We’re really sorry for any inconvenience, and our reference librarians are here to help you find alternative research sources. You can reach us by phone, email, text, or in person at Snell Library at http://library.northeastern.edu/ask.
Posted in: Information and Society, Library News and Events, Research Online
Posted by: G. Karen Merguerian
If you’re actively involved in research, you’re probably on dozens of email lists from publishers and scholarly societies, and maybe you’re even following them on Twitter, or with an RSS feed reader. Well here’s a way to consolidate your alerts to make things a little easier to manage and to reduce the amount of mailbox clutter you receive: Current Contents Connect (Thomson Reuters/Web of Knowledge).
With Current Contents Connect, you can
- Browse tables of contents of all your favorite scholarly publications within a single web site;
- Subscribe to tables of contents of your favorite journals to receive an update when new issues are published;
- Set up an alert based on a topic or keyword;
- Find that hot new article your colleague told you would be really interesting to your research;
- Link directly from an item in the Table of Contents to the NU library’s subscription, or to request a PDF via interlibrary loan;
- Email the article author directly to request a reprint or ask questions; and
- Save the citation to Endnote, Refworks, or Zotero.
Citation tracking is a key strength of the Web of Knowledge family of databases. This means the following advanced features are also available:
- View a list of all the references the author of the new article has cited (and if they cited you, of course!);
- Subscribe to an RSS feed to be alerted every time this new article is cited by someone else; or
- View a citation map that shows links from one journal article to another (see below).
Citation map for Ionescu's Dialectic in Plato's Sophist (2013) (click to enlarge).
Note also that we have moved away from our old E-journal Finder, so if you have been receiving alerts from that system (in the form of emails from TDnet/Teldan), those alerts will end sometime this fall. Current Contents Connect is the perfect substitute going forward.
Posted in: Research Online