Scholarly Communications

2
Jul15

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

Posted by: Sarah Sweeney

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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: http://dsg.neu.edu/resources/drs.

Posted in: Scholarly Communications, Tech Alerts

23
Feb15

February 23-27 Is Fair Use Week!

Posted by: Hillary Corbett

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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: http://fairuseweek.org/. 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

21
Oct14

Celebrate Open Access Week With Us! Oct. 20-26, 2014

Posted by: Hillary Corbett

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Open Access Week

Are you:

…a scientist hoping to maximize the audience for your research?
…a student who’s tried to access a journal article through Google and hit a paywall?
…an early career researcher concerned about establishing your scholarly reputation?
…a taxpayer who wants to be able to access government-funded health research?

If so, then Open Access is relevant to you!

This week, Snell Library is celebrating International Open Access Week, which highlights the importance of expanding access to research on a global scale. Open Access Week is an international event now in its eighth year – its purpose is to raise awareness about inequities in access to information and promote change in the publishing industry.

Traditionally, researchers access information they need through a personal subscription, buying a book, or accessing information through a library. But what if your library doesn’t have a subscription? Or, what happens when you graduate? Or, what about researchers in developing countries where the costs of access are out of reach? (Journal subscriptions can cost thousands of dollars.) These are some of the reasons why opening access to research is important.

The theme of International Open Access Week this year is “Generation Open” – highlighting the importance of students and early career researchers as advocates for change. Snell Library has several events planned to celebrate OA Week; given the theme this year, I’m very pleased that for the first time, one of our events features a Northeastern student’s work! And be sure to stop by our table in the lobby of Snell every day this week (11:30-1:30) to learn more and pick up a totebag, laser-cut bookmark, or pen!

Schedule of Events

Monday, October 20
3:00 pm-4:30 pm
90 SL

Webcast: “Generation Open” Panel Discussion
Speakers will discuss the importance of students and early career researchers in the transition to Open Access and explore how changes in scholarly publishing affect scholars and researchers at different stages of their careers. Refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, October 22
3:30 pm-8:30 pm
Digital Scholarship Commons (211 SL)

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
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. Participants do not need any prior experience with Wikipedia, just bring a laptop and a power supply. Refreshments will be served.

Thursday, October 23
12:00 pm-1:00 pm
DMC 3D Printing Studio

3D Printing Presentation: Andreas Aghamianz
Northeastern student Andreas Aghamianz (COE ’18) will discuss the process of fabricating and assembling his open-sourced inMoov robotic hand.

Thursday, October 23
2:00 pm-3:00 pm
90 SL

Webcast: The Right Metrics for Generation Open
Stacy Konkiel of Impactstory presents a guide to getting credit for practicing open science. Refreshments will be served.

Posted in: Library News and Events, Scholarly Communications

15
Nov13

Google Wins Fair Use Argument in Book Search Lawsuit

Posted by: Hillary Corbett

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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
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“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
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“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

23
Oct13

IRis, Northeastern’s Digital Archive, Reaches Milestone: 1 Million Downloads!

Posted by: Hillary Corbett

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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:

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