MERLOT Adds New OER Search Feature

MERLOT is a well-known repository of openly accessible learning content produced and shared by higher education faculty. With its thousands of learning objects, MERLOT is considered a reliable source of quality Open Educational Resources (OER).

Faculty are sometimes challenged to find OER that fits their course. To enhance their ability to locate OER, MERLOT has developed a new feature called “Smart Search”. It extends access to online learning materials well beyond MERLOT’s curated and peer reviewed collection.  Smart Search helps to answer the pervasive and nagging question, “Where can I find OERs?”

Smart Search searches the World Wide Web specifically for the kinds of learning materials typically found in MERLOT. It uses a proprietary MERLOT user profile design to find the newest and most popular learning materials on the web. While these web items are not reviewed or curated as is the MERLOT resources, searches can recommend materials they find for future review.

Smart Search is easy to use. From the MERLOT home page go to the search feature:

screenshot of merlot search box

Start with the MERLOT search utility







Then MERLOT will indicate you have a choice of three options for finding content:

screenshot of the merlot search options

MERLOT prompts for one of three different searches






Choosing the Web search option will result in up to 100 websites with potential OER content on the search topic:

screenshot of MERLOT search results screen

MERLOT search results display up to 100 web sites






As part of Temple University Libraries celebration of Open Education Week, we encourage all instructors to visit MERLOT and consider ways in which OER could be used to offer students affordable learning material. For more information on locating OER resources, using existing library content or other resources as affordable learning materials contact Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian.

New Tool Helps Students Identify Library E-Books That Are Course Textbooks

During the first week or two of the new semester one of the most frequently asked student questions at Paley Library is “Does the Library have my textbook?”

Owing to the expense of commercial textbooks, students are hoping they can borrow a library copy instead of having to buy the book. Temple Libraries does not generally purchase commercial textbooks. Not only are they costly, but they are hardly conducive to the Library’s goal of building a research collection that contributes to great learning and research.

That said, on occasion we do have books in our collection that are also being used as learning resources by faculty. The problem is that one student in the course typically borrows that book, beating everyone else in the class to it, so it really doesn’t help much. To alleviate that situation, some faculty will place a physical book from the collection on reserve for students, but students can only borrow the book for a two hour period.

E-books are one way to overcome these limitation. Since they are always available online, and mostly accessible by multiple users, students can equitably use the e-book. The challenge for students is how to find out if we have their textbook in e-book format.

Thanks to Brian Boling, our Media Services Librarian, we now have a new tool that makes it easier for students to find out if one of the books for their course is available as a library e-book.

“E-books At Temple University Libraries” looks through all the books available at the bookstore for the current semester and shows any match for an e-book available through the library.

screenshot of the library's e-book - textbook tool

Library’s E-book – Textbook Tool










There is a search or browse list that students can use to locate books by their faculty members name or course name.

screenshot of the library e-book to textbooks

Search/Browse feature of the textbook ebook collection






We hope that students will use this new tool to determine if the library has an e-book version of their textbook. Temple University Libraries provides access to many thousands of book in electronic format. We also hope that faculty and students will make use of them to advance student learning and research.


Email Phishing Scam Warning: User Account Registration

There have been reports of an email being sent by requesting users ‘redo’ their registration with a link to our libproxy server. This server facilitates remote access to our online databases and journals. Please do not click on any links on the email as it is a phishing scam. You can also forward the e-mail to

The body of the email reads:
In order to provide efficient service for your account and prevent any abuse of it, please redo the registration of your user account quickly in the link below.
Temple University Library 1719 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Preparing Paley Library Collections for the New Library

In addition to the construction work visibly underway for Temple’s new 21st century library, Library staff are hard at work behind the scenes preparing Paley Library’s extensive collection for the move.  One aspect of this work includes reviewing the collection to be sure each item is properly barcoded.  This project began this Fall and is expected to continue well into next year.

In the midst of reviewing each item for the presence of a barcode, we are discovering a number of items that lack catalog records.  Though these items represent a small percentage of the collection, they still present a significant challenge for the Libraries.  We estimate that cataloging all the items likely to be discovered could conservatively take 3 to 4 years of uninterrupted work.  Of course, this time-frame would stretch considerably longer due to the necessity of simultaneously maintaining routine cataloging activities.  Given that most of the items being discovered are either duplicates of other Temple library holdings or are quite widely held by other libraries with whom Temple has robust lending agreements, it is not clear that the substantial investment of time, personnel, and space required to catalog and house these items is the best use of limited library resources.

In light of these considerations, the library administrative team has determined that a reasonable course of action is to conduct a review of these un-cataloged items, checking particularly to see 1) if a duplicate, cataloged copy is held by the Libraries, and 2) how widely the item is held by other, non-Temple, libraries.  If other cataloged copies of the item are available from a Temple library, we are withdrawing the un-cataloged item.  If the item is held by at least 75 other libraries in total and at least 3 Pennsylvania libraries, we are withdrawing the un-cataloged item.  If the item is lightly held (defined as fewer than 75 total libraries and fewer than 3 Pennsylvania libraries), it is being kept for cataloging.  Items flagged for withdrawal are also being given a final review by Special Collections Research Center staff for consideration as an addition to our special collections.  Please note that the numeric holdings criteria being applied are quite conservative compared to research indicating that a much lower number of holdings suffices to safely guarantee the survival of lightly held items.

This process results in the following outcomes:

  • Items that are lightly held and most at risk of disappearing from the scholarly record are retained and cataloged for the benefit of the Temple community and the broader scholarly community.
  • We ensure that items withdrawn are readily available for loan via Temple’s strong network of partner libraries.
  • The Libraries’ projected cataloging backlog is reduced to a level we expect will be more manageable given restraints of time, funds, and space.

If you have any questions or concerns related to this please feel free to contact Joe Lucia, Dean of Libraries, at

Open Access Week 2016 at the Libraries

oalogoThis week, October 24–28, is Open Access Week, a global event that promotes the benefits of Open Access (OA) in the academic and research community. Core tenets include free online access to scholarly research and the right to use and re-use those results in your own academic work. The important implications for academia, medicine, science, and society as a whole speak to an overall advancement of scholarship, as OA increases the exposure and use of published research.  

Temple University Libraries is joining the conversation around OA through a series of pop-up events, a panel discussion, a lecture, and a webinar, and we invite you to stop by for the following:

At Main Campus

Visit our Pop-Up Tables:
Monday, October 24, 1:00–3:00 PM, SERC Lobby
Tuesday, October 25, 2:00–4:00 PM, Anderson Hall Lobby
Thursday, October 27, 12:00–2:00 PM, Gladfelter Hall Lobby

Panel Discussion:
Thursday, October 27, 3:00 PM
“Open Access and the Future of Scholarly Publishing,” a panel discussion with Rebecca Kennison of the Open Access Network and Temple University faculty members
Paley Library Lecture Hall

Friday, October 28, 12:00 PM 
View the webinar “Understanding and Protecting Your Rights As an Author”
Paley Library Lecture Hall


At the Health Sciences Campus

Open Access Week Table-a-Thon:
Monday, October 24, 12:00–1:30 PM, School of Dentistry Building
Tuesday, October 25, 12:00–1:30 PM, Medical Education and Research Building
Friday, October 28, 12:00–1:30 PM, Pharmacy and Allied Health Building
Join us for Open Access trivia and win library swag!

Wednesday, October 26, 9:30–10:30 AM
Open Access Week Lecture: An Introduction to Open Access, the history of the Open Access movement, and tips to avoid predatory publishing!
Health Sciences Campus, Ginsburg Library Computer Lab, Room 248


Contact Associate University Librarian Steven Bell or Stephanie Roth (for the Health Sciences Campus) with questions.  

Back to School with the Libraries: Tips & Resources from Your Subject Librarians

Welcome to the fall semester! Whether you are looking for research assistance, to browse or borrow from our collections, or for a place to study, we hope to see you in the Libraries soon. In the meantime, we want to remind you of all the resources and services available to you by checking in with a few of your subject librarians for tips, resources, and advice. Kristina DeVoe, English and Communication Librarian; Rebecca Lloyd, History, Latin American Studies, Spanish & Portuguese Librarian; and Jill Luedke, Art, Art History, Architecture Librarian each offer their perspectives below.


1. What’s the library resource you can’t stop talking about and why?

Kristina DeVoe, photo courtesy Dustin Fenstermacher

Kristina DeVoe, photo courtesy Dustin Fenstermacher

Kristina: I’ve been having conversations about citation management tools with graduate students lately. Tools like zotero, RefWorks, and Mendeley are like smartphone contacts list for the sources that have the most influence on your work. Citation management tools help you format sources for a paper and keep track of the most important sources you encounter so that you can “get in touch” with them again later. Some citation management tools are very basic, while others allow for note-taking, file uploads, and have social sharing options.

Rebecca: Global Issues in Context is one of my favorite library resources. This database brings together content from a wide range of sources and media including news, academic journals, videos and podcasts. It’s a great introduction to international issues like the European migrant crisis or food shortages in Venezuela. You can search by topic or country and quickly find background information, historical context, and in-depth articles. It’s an extremely useful source for undergraduate research in the social sciences and humanities.

Jill: Zines! We have a pretty sweet collection of zines (pronounced “zeens”). Zines are diy self-published magazines that have their roots in the 1930s science fiction fandom culture. Zines are still produced today, often by fringe and outsider communities. Recently, Temple Libraries scored a donation of over 300 zines from a local collector. We now have zines that span almost 90 years and cover topics such as LGBTQ, race and identity, feminism, Philadelphia culture, science fiction, and more.


2. What’s one piece of advice about using the Libraries you want to share with students?

Kristina: The Libraries is more than just books. It’s a dynamic, ever-changing space on campus for a whole range of activities from getting one-on-one research help and broadening your skills and knowledge sets in a variety of areas to engaging programs and relaxing from the stress of finals week, plus much more!

2013_09_09 Paley Head Shots

Rebecca Lloyd, photo courtesy Dustin Fenstermacher

Rebecca: Librarians can help with far more than finding books! We can work with students on all stages of the research process from choosing and evaluating the feasibility of a topic, to exploring new digital research methods like textual analysis or GIS mapping, to managing your research and citations using tools like Mendeley or RefWorks.

Jill: Remember to breathe. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed or both, take three long deep breaths and slowly sigh them out. This won’t magically compose your thesis statement or make that perfect article appear, but it will definitely put you in a better place than you were three breaths ago. Then, go talk to a librarian.


3. Can you share a favorite interaction with a student or a course you’ve had recently?

Kristina: I had the happy pleasure of working closely with a Diamond Research Scholar last year during the student’s year-long research intensive, hybridized poetic project, serving as a kind of mentor. We met regularly to carve out the scope of the project, identify relevant resources, and discuss available productivity tools to help guide her workflow and creative writing process. The student presented her culminating project at TURF-CreWS and later applied to the Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award, which she won in the Creative Works and Media Production category!

Rebecca: I am working with a class this semester that will be creating and editing Wikipedia pages for an assignment. I’ve had great meetings with the instructor thus far. While this is new territory for both of us, we are very excited that students will get to be active creators of content that can have an impact beyond a typical class research paper. In learning how Wikipedia articles are written and edited, students will also become more savvy and critical users of Wikipedia and other sources. I am eager to partner with instructors on innovative assignments and new approaches to information literacy!


Jill Luedke, photo courtesy Dustin Fenstermacher

Jill: Last year I decided to take my engagement with contemplative pedagogy a step further and reached out to a couple studio instructors to gauge their interest in letting me teach mindfulness to their students. Both instructors agreed to let me teach a series of three 30-minute sessions in their classroom. I talked to the students about mindful and contemplative practices and taught a few basic techniques they could use anywhere, anytime.

4. What’s your favorite part about the beginning of the semester?

Kristina: I enjoy catching up with faculty on their research endeavors and helping them with their course preparation. I also enjoy the energy and excitement surrounding TempleFest.

Rebecca: I always enjoy the buzz of excitement and energy among the incoming students who are eager to think, learn, and be challenged in new ways.

Jill: I still get excited for the first day of school. I can feel the energy amp up as the semester draws nearer. The fresh curiosity of the new students and the cultivated inquisitiveness of the upperclassmen, all of them eager to begin again, bring a palpable vigor to campus.


Remember, you can contact your librarian directly or schedule an appointment. Our AskALibrarian services are also a direct line to research support.

Paley Library Construction FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Temple University students will notice a substantial change in Paley Library as they return for the fall 2016 semester.

Almost the entire east side of the first floor of Paley Library is closed for a construction project.

This FAQ has information about the impact of this project on Paley Library and its resources and services throughout the construction.

That section of Paley is where I always study. Why did you close it?

The decision to close the east side of Paley Library’s first floor was a University administration decision. In order to create more space for the Fox School, a decision was made to move advising staff out of 1810 Liacouras Walk. Those advisers are being relocated to the first floor east of Paley Library. In closing the first floor east, the Library administration is complying with a request from the University administration.

We need more study space, not less? What happened to all the chairs and study carrels?

Despite the construction there is no loss of study seats in Paley Library. All of our carrels and soft seating have been relocated to other spaces throughout the building. Many of the popular individual carrels will be found on the second and third floors.

What about the computers on the first floor?

Unfortunately the construction project meant the loss of approximately 50 desktop computers. For now the bulk of our desktop computers are on the west side of the first floor, with a more limited number on the second and third floors. Many more students now bring their own computer to Paley Library, but for those who need to use one while here we will be introducing Chromebook computers for loan from our Media Services Desk. Look for an announcement.

Does the construction project affect any of the services at the desk in the Tuttleman Building?

No. The construction project will have no impact at all on any Temple University Library services. Whether it’s access to books on reserve, asking a librarian for help choosing a database, DVDs in Media Services, using primary research materials in the Special Collections Research Center or getting help with a research project at the Digital Scholarship Center, Temple students will experience no change in the high quality services they always receive from Temple Libraries.

How long is the construction project expected to last?

The project is expected to be completed by mid-November 2016. However, it is possible the new area will not be occupied by staff members until the start of the spring 2017 semester. The timeline on this remains undetermined for now.

What if the construction makes Paley too noisy for quiet study

We are dealing with an active construction zone in our building from 7:00 am until 2:30 pm, weekdays. There will be noise. The entire project will be enclosed within walls that separate it from the rest of the building, which will help, but there will still be some noise. If you feel there is too much noise, speak to a library staff member at any service desk. There are numerous other quiet spaces in Paley, so seek them out.

How do I get one of the magazine or journal issues that were on the shelves in that area?

We do plan to re-install the shelving and make all those issues available for browsing once we are able to get back into the corridor. Until then, request a magazine or journal issue at the main service desk in Paley Library, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

UPDATE – Sept. 13: The current periodicals are now available in the corridor that leads into the east side of the first floor.

Will I still be able to get to the photocopiers when I need them?

The corridor where the photocopiers are located will remain open to the community during and after the completion of the construction project. If for any reason that area is temporarily unavailable, there are additional photocopiers on the second and third floors.

UPDATE – Sept. 13: The photocopiers are now re-installed in their original location on the first floor east.

Does the project affect the hours that the Paley Library will be open this fall?

No. The Paley Library hours are not affected by the construction project.

What should I do if I have concerns about Paley Library during the construction project?

Temple University students are always welcome to share their concerns or suggestions about any aspects of library services with members of the Library Administration team. The office is located on the mezzanine level of Paley Library and is open from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. You can also contact us through our virtual suggestion box.

Transition to cashless payment system at the Tuttleman Circulation Desk.

Starting Monday, August 29th 2016, Temple University Libraries will stop accepting cash at the Tuttleman Circulation/Reserve Desk. Acceptable forms of payment are Diamond Dollars, Credit/Debit cards, as well as checks and money orders. If you have questions please speak with Tuttleman Circulation/Reserve Desk staff. Thank you for your cooperation as we transition to our cashless payment process.

Our Staff Recommends: Books, Movies, and Library Resources We Love

Part Two

This past April, we asked Temple University Libraries’ staff members to share the books, movies, and library resources they love, in celebration of National Library Week. Today, we’re back with a new installment of staff favorites, as part of our ongoing initiative to help you get to know your library staff. Check out their recommendations below, and click through the links to find these items in our collections!


“My favorite [film] is The King of Comedy, written by a film critic about the nature of celebrity culture.” –Gary Kramer, Publicity Manager, Temple University Press

“Archives of Leonardo, a journal of science- and technology-based art and media. I enjoy reading the early history of computer-generated artwork (dating back to the 1960s!).” –Tim Bieniosek, Sr. Digital Library Applications Developer

“One of my favorite books is Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace. I’m eager to reread it because I’m traveling to Burma for the first time this December.” –Rebecca Lloyd, Reference Librarian

“I love French film and our Media Services collection has all of the greats from Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer, Rivette, and Varda to Chabrol, Tavernier, Ozon, Audiard, Klapisch, Honore, etc. It’s a wonderful collection of and education in French cinema.” –Kathy Lehman, Supervisor, Circulation and Reserve

“My favorite writer is Alice Munro, and our libraries house many of her short story collections! A few of my favorites include Open Secrets; Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage; and Runaway.” –Beckie Dashiell, Editor