Scholarly Communications


October is Open Access Month!

Posted by: Hillary Corbett


200px-Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svgThis year, Snell Library is expanding the celebration of International Open Access Week to the whole month of October! We have a great schedule of programs lined up for the month that will highlight different resources and initiatives that promote open access to information, as well as open-source tools for research support. You can find the complete listing of events below.

We’ll also be in the Snell lobby on Monday, October 5, from 11:30-1:00, talking about why Open Access is so important for everyone — whether you’re a researcher in a developing country without access to expensive journal subscriptions, a patient trying to access information about a health issue, or a filmmaker hoping to change the world. Stop by to grab a schedule for the month…and one of our laser-cut Open Access bookmarks, made in-house!

Open Access Month: Schedule of Events

Tuesday, October 6
Storing and Sharing Files Using the DRS
12:00-1:00 p.m. | DSC Media Lounge, 211 SL
Curious about Northeastern’s Digital Repository Service? This session will include a demonstration of uploading, searching, and browsing in the DRS, an overview of highlighted DRS content, and a forum to ask questions about the DRS and how it’s being used at Northeastern. Refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, October 6
Zotero in 30 Minutes
2:00-2:30 p.m. | DSC Media Lounge, 211 SL
Learn about using Zotero, one of the most well-known free, open source citation management tools, to organize your research. Track and gather all of your research in one place and automatically format citations and bibliographies—bring your laptop to get started right away. Refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, October 7
Digital Humanities Open Office Hours
1:00-2:00 p.m. | DSC Media Lounge, 211 SL
Understanding copyright and fair use in the Digital Humanities will be the focus of this week’s regularly scheduled DH Open Office Hours.

Tuesday, October 13
Storing and Sharing Files Using the DRS
3:00-4:00 p.m. | DSC Media Lounge, 211 SL
Curious about Northeastern’s Digital Repository Service? This session will include a demonstration of uploading, searching, and browsing in the DRS, an overview of highlighted DRS content, and a forum to ask questions about the DRS and how it’s being used at Northeastern. Refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, October 14
DSG & NULab Fall Showcase
3:00-6:00 p.m. | 90 SL & Digital Scholarship Commons
Angel Nieves, Associate Professor, Director of American Studies and Co-Director of the Digital Humanities Initiative at Hamilton College, will speak in room 90 from 3:00-4:00. Then join us in the DSC from 4:15-6:00 to meet others interested in digital scholarship and learn about recent developments in DSG and NULab projects. Refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, October 20
All About Archives! Finding Primary Sources Housed at Northeastern and Beyond
12:00-1:00 p.m. | 421 SL
Primary source material gives researchers a first-hand look at the past. Giordana Mecagni, University Archivist and Head of Special Collections, will showcase some of Northeastern’s unique collections, and Jamie Dendy, Head of Research and Instruction Services and History Librarian, will demonstrate some of his favorite open-access collections of primary sources. Refreshments will be served.

Thursday, October 22
Data Management Plans and the DRS
12:30-1:30 p.m. | DSC Media Lounge, 211 SL
How can you effectively share and preserve research data while fulfilling grant requirements? This session will describe the library’s support for research data management, including the DMPTool as an option to generate data management plans, and the Digital Repository Service as an option for preserving and sharing research data. Refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, October 27
Open Tools for GIS: Google Maps
2:00-3:00 p.m. | 421 SL
Bahare Sanaie-Movahed, the library’s new GIS Specialist, will demonstrate how Google Maps can be used for creating open-access GIS projects. Refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, October 28
Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
4:00-8:00 p.m. | DSC Media Lounge, 211 SL
Join us to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of under-represented groups in Massachusetts and U.S. history. This hack-a-thon style session will focus on editing and updating Wikipedia pages in a group setting. You do not need any prior experience with Wikipedia to participate, just bring a laptop and a power supply. Refreshments will be served.

Thursday, October 29
Textbook Affordability and Open Educational Resources
12:00-1:00 p.m. | 421 SL
Nancy Pawlyshyn, Assistant Teaching Professor in the Graduate Education program, will be joined by representatives from Academic Technology Services and Snell Library to discuss how Open Educational Resources can be implemented in the classroom as alternatives to high-cost traditional textbooks. A student will provide the undergraduate perspective on textbook affordability. Refreshments will be served.

Friday, October 30
Sourcing Multimedia for Your Course
12:00-1:30 p.m. | 140 SL
The Internet offers a variety of public domain and Creative Commons images, movies, and documents that may be used to support teaching and learning. Learn strategies for finding relevant media and crediting the media appropriately. Hosted by Academic Technology Services.

Friday, October 30
Creating Interactive Open Educational Resources
2:00-4:00 p.m. | 140 SL
This course will show you the basics of using Storyline to create interactive educational resources. You’ll learn how to incorporate multimedia, create your own text, audio, and image content, and create interactive features. Finally, we’ll discuss options for publishing on the web. Hosted by Academic Technology Services.

Posted in: Information and Society, Library News and Events, Research Online, Scholarly Communications


Boston Library Consortium signs letter to President Obama about Open Educational Resources

Posted by: Hillary Corbett


In June, the White House called for suggestions from the public for its third Open Government National Action Plan, to be released later this year. The purpose of this plan is to increase transparency in government as well as support open research and learning tools, which were identified as areas for development in the first two National Action Plans. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), an international group of academic research libraries, has responded to this call with a letter advocating for increased support for the development of open educational resources. The Boston Library Consortium, of which Northeastern University is a member, has added its name as a signatory of this letter. We are proud to voice our support for open educational resources!

Open educational resources (OERs) are freely accessible learning objects that support teaching and learning at all levels – from kindergarten through higher education. Because they are openly licensed, educators can customize OERs or create mashups of different resources to provide their students with the material that best meets their teaching objectives. OERs include textbooks, audio and video materials, tests, software, interactive modules, and much more. Many are peer-reviewed either before or after being publicly released, so teachers can be assured of their quality.

OERs benefit students as well as educators—they serve as free alternatives to costly traditional textbooks. A recent NBC News story about the astronomical increase in textbook prices (more than triple the cost of inflation since 1977) quotes an incoming Northeastern first-year student on the struggle to afford college textbooks. OERs would help him and thousands of others get a high-quality education at a more affordable price. The Open Education Group, which conducts an ongoing review of empirical research on the use of OERs, reports that studies show students and educators using OERs are satisfied with the quality of these resources and that learning outcomes are equivalent to or better than those in classrooms using traditional resources.

Instructors and students, are you interested in learning more about open educational resources? Check out my guide to OERs and textbook alternatives, and please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

Posted in: Information and Society, Research Online, Scholarly Communications


Meet the Inaugural DRS Pilot Projects

Posted by: Amanda Rust



The Library’s Digital Scholarship Group is excited to announce projects chosen for the 2015 DRS Project Toolkit Pilot program. In this Pilot program, we work with selected digital projects at Northeastern to develop new tools for online scholarship. Projects will store and preserve their digital content in Northeastern’s next generation Digital Repository Service (learn more about the DRS here). Projects can then use platforms like WordPress and Omeka to curate and display this work in an engaging and accessible manner on the web. The Digital Scholarship Group received impressive proposals from a wide range of Northeastern’s colleges and departments, and are looking forward to working with the following three proposals for 2015-2016:

  • Debra Mandel (Libraries) will showcase the exciting work Northeastern students have created in Snell Library’s Digital Media Commons and Studios. A collaborative facility with state-of-the-art audio and video technology and support, the Digital Media Commons has helped students at Northeastern record music, create animated films, and produce a range of high-quality creative projects. The Digital Scholarship Group will help Digital Media Commons staff celebrate and preserve this work.
  • Giordana Mecagni (Archives and Special Collections) will create digital exhibits about the Boston Public Schools Desegregation, a process which began in the fall of 1974. The Digital Scholarship Group will help Northeastern’s Archives and Special Collections make digital records of this important event in the history of Boston more widely accessible and visible. In addition to Archives and Special Collections, an interdisciplinary coalition of students, faculty members, and archivists from the Northeastern community will participate in this project.
  • Jenny Sartori (Jewish Studies) and the University’s Holocaust Awareness Committee will create a publicly-accessible archive of Northeastern’s Holocaust Awareness Week programming. For more than thirty years, these events have reflected Northeastern’s commitment to Holocaust awareness and genocide prevention. This will be an important educational resource that highlights the digital records of survivor testimonies, distinguished lectures, and roundtable discussions, as well as the history of the Holocaust Awareness Committee itself.

These projects join three other new DSG initiatives from earlier in Spring 2015:

  • a web presence for content from the Library’s Arader Galleries collection (and the creation of new signage that directs viewers of the physical prints to this online collection)
  • the addition of Stephen Sadow’s collection of interviews with Latin American artists and writers to the DRS
  • the migration of the Catskill Institute materials from their current home at Brown University to the DRS (and a new website at Northeastern)

The Digital Scholarship Group also continues to support the ongoing work of the Women Writers Project; Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive; The Early Caribbean Digital Archive; Viral Texts; Digital Humanities Quarterly; and TAPAS. For more information on projects supported by the Digital Scholarship Group, please visit our Projects page.

If you’d like to contact the Digital Scholarship Group, please email us: We are also on Twitter: @NU_DSG.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Data Curation, Library News and Events, Scholarly Communications


Digital Repository Service (DRS) replaces IRis for storage and sharing of NU-created materials

Posted by: Sarah Sweeney


After several months of preparation, the library has now successfully transitioned from IRis, our previous repository platform, to the newly redesigned Digital Repository Service (DRS).

IRis was publicly launched in 2006, and attained a milestone of 1 million downloads in 2013. The DRS builds upon the success of IRis by offering expanded functionality and customization specific to community needs.

Like IRis, the DRS is a storage and preservation tool designed to allow the Northeastern University community to store materials that are produced at the University or are important to the university’s mission. Faculty are welcome to upload their research materials, publications, datasets, and presentations; staff can store important administrative materials, like departmental photographs and documents. As in IRis, the library deposits all master’s theses and doctoral dissertations completed at the University into the DRS. Exemplary undergraduate student projects and publications are also included in the DRS.

DRS features include:

Self deposit: Faculty members may deposit their own material.

Simple discovery: The locally developed interface offers user-friendly searching and browsing.

Saving and downloading: Materials can be saved to Sets or downloaded for future use.

Easy account creation: Users may sign in to the DRS with their myNEU username and password.

As of today the DRS has over 70,000 files stored, and more than half of those files are available to the public:

  • 1,677 master’s theses and doctoral dissertations completed at Northeastern University since 2008

  • 1,217 publications authored by Northeastern University faculty and staff

  • 16 archival collections from University Archives and Special Collections, including photographs from the Boys and Girls Club and Freedom House collections

  • 25,000 photographs from Northeastern University’s Office of Marketing and Communications (faculty and staff access only)

  • And growing…

We encourage everyone to visit the DRS to view the impressive collection of material produced by Northeastern University faculty, staff, and students. Faculty and staff are invited to start uploading their materials right away. For more information about the DRS, or for help getting started uploading your files, please visit our DRS resource page:

Posted in: Scholarly Communications, Tech Alerts


February 23-27 Is Fair Use Week!

Posted by: Hillary Corbett






What is fair use? It’s a right granted to us that allows us to use copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder, under certain circumstances. The central purpose of the doctrine of fair use is to encourage creative expression and innovation through the transformative use of intellectual property.

Fair use is not unusual—quite the contrary: it’s applied every day, in a variety of circumstances. Have you quoted an author in a paper for class? That’s fair use! Have you watched “The Daily Show,” or “South Park”? You’ve enjoyed the humor of parody that fair use allows! Have you DVRed those shows to watch later (or do you remember the dark ages of recording TV shows on your VCR)? Even though you’re technically making a copy, that kind of copying is also fair use.

But fair use is sometimes mischaracterized as being too difficult to determine and thus advised against out of fear of infringement. So, the organizers of Fair Use Week hope to increase awareness and understanding of fair use, and emphasize its importance to the creation of new knowledge.

There are several online events taking place as part of Fair Use Week:

  • On Tuesday, February 24, from 2:00-3:00, Kevin Smith of Duke University will be presenting a webcast on fair use.
  • On Wednesday, February 25, from 3:00-4:00, Brandon Butler of American University will be hosting a “tweetchat” on Twitter about fair use and audiovisual materials, at the hashtag #videofairuse.
  • Several videos about fair use are scheduled to be released next week.

You can read more about Fair Use Week—why it’s important and what it all means—at this link: I also recommend checking out the Fair Use Week Tumblr, organized by Kyle Courtney at Harvard University. He and his colleagues are posting interesting stories and snippets about Fair Use Week. You can follow @FairUseWeek on Twitter.  (And, if you haven’t seen it, we have a page about fair use on our library website.)

Finally, check out this great infographic that has been created about fair use!

(click for full image)


Posted in: Library News and Events, Scholarly Communications