2010 Library Prize Award Ceremony

Classes are over and finals underway, but you might still be curious about the outcome of the 2010 Library Prize for Undergraduate Research. This year’s winners were honored at an award ceremony that took place one week ago today, May 5 at 4:30 p.m., in Paley Lecture Hall. Faculty who worked with the winners were also present. Drs. Krueger and Collier-Thomas spoke passionately about their students’ winning projects and the experience of helping shepherd such amazing examples of undergraduate research to completion.

The winners also spoke eloquently about the starts and stops, frustrations and triumphs of conducting the research necessary to complete their papers. Prior to the award ceremony the three winning students sat down with their primary faculty sponsors for interviews.

Look for links to the MP3 interview files, PDFs of the winning projects, and pictures of the winners and honorable mentions to appear on our Winners page shortly.

2010 Library Prize Winners Announced

Congratulations go to all Library Prize applicants. The honorees this year are:

Winners (alphabetical order)

Donald Bermudez – Keystone of the Keystone: The Falls of the Delaware and Bucks County 1609-1692 (History 4997) – Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Rita Krueger and Dr. Travis

Glasson Brian Hussey – Setting the Agenda: The Effects of Administration Debates and the President’s Personal Imperatives on Forming Foreign Policy During the Reagan Administration (History 4997) – Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Rita Krueger and Dr. Richard H. Immerman

Charise Young – African American Women’s Basketball in the 1920s and 1930s: Active Participants in the “New Negro” Movement (History 4296) – Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Bettye Collier-Thomas and Dr. Kenneth L. Kusmer

Honorable Mentions (alphabetical order)

Adam Ledford – A Research Based Studio Practice in Ceramics (Crafts 4162) – Faculty Sponsors: Nicholas Kripal and Chad D. Curtis

Hung Pham – The Identification of Transcription Factors Mediating Homocysteine Pathology in Human Endothelial Cells (Biology 3396) – Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Deborah Stull and Dr. Hong Wang


Library Prize Info Sessions

Would you like to win $1,000 and a prestigious award from Temple Libraries? The deadline for submitting your work to the 2010 Library Prize for Undergraduate Research is Monday, March 29, 2010. Learn more about the Library Prize at two upcoming info sessions: 1) Monday, March 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Paley Library, Room 130 (mezzanine level) 2) Thursday, March 25 from 10:00 a.m. to noon in Paley Library, Room 130 (mezzanine level) These sessions are your opportunity to ask questions and get a leg up on the competition! Don’t forget to check out our Library Prize website, especially our How to Apply and FAQ pages.

Open Access Journals

Beginning in the 1980s but accelerating over the last decade, libraries have been unable to keep pace with the skyrocketing costs of scholarly journals. For both private and publicly-supported research universities the publication “circle” looks something like this: 1) scholar obtains money to conduct research, perhaps through government grants or internal, tuition-supported funding; 2) scholar conducts and then publishes research in peer-reviewed journal; 3) university library “buys back” scholarly research from for-profit or societal journal publishers. The problem? Academic libraries, whose budgets sometimes do not even take inflation into account from year to year, can no longer afford to buy journal titles, especially in the sciences. Did you know, for example, that the annual $19,396 paid by Brown University Library for the journal Nuclear Physics A & B, matches the price of a “new midsize car” (Brown University’s George Street Journal).

Libraries and others who care about open access to scholarly information are fighting back. “SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system… It’s pragmatic focus is to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly communications models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries” (About SPARC). The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is another such initiative. DOAJ defines open access journals as ones that “use a funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access” (About DOAJ). Explore DOAJ’s list of 110 scholarly, open access journals in history. 

Who benefits from these initiatives? In my view scholars, libraries, small and even large publishers benefit when research is made readily available to industry and the public at large. Think about it this way: It is reasonable to expect that the public will be more willing to support research that is readily available, and that the impact of this research will be greater and longer lasting.

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing the open access community is scholars’ fear that publishing in open access journals will not advance careers or lead to tenure. After all, academic journals were created in the first place, in part, to promote the careers of authors. Scholars are also often concerned with a journal’s impact factor. Despite these concerns, however, new information technologies and initiatives such as SPARC and DOAJ are here to stay. Consider the benefits of open access today!

The Teaching Professor

The Libraries have recently acquired a site license to The Teaching Professor, an online newsletter designed to assist faculty with the practical side of teaching. The Teaching Professor helps instructors to:

  • Overcome obstacles to effective teaching
  • Stay abreast of the latest pedagogical research
  • Hear what’s working for colleagues “in the trenches”
  • Hone skills and stay on top of teaching innovations
  • Truly connect with students

Here’s an excerpt from an article titled Faculty Self-Disclosures in the College Classroom from the April, 2007 issue: “While interviewing university faculty for a study about classroom communication, ‘Jim,’ a professor of history, made this comment about a colleague he had observed teaching: ‘I was really amazed, when I saw him teach, how little of his personality you see.’ This starkly contrasted with his perception of his own teaching style, about which he said, ‘I try to use humor a lot. My dad says I just think funny, you know, and I do; it’s hard for me not to joke around.’ This comment started me wondering about how much of ourselves we let our students see.”

The articles in The Teaching Professor are brief and to the point. Worth a look.

David C. Murray

Web of Science Backfiles Added

We are pleased to announce that Temple University Libraries has acquired Web of Science backfiles to the year 1900. The breakdown by discipline is:

  • Arts & Humanities back to 1975
  • Social Sciences back to 1956
  • Science back to 1900

Web of Science is a repository of historic, multi-disciplinary journal literature. The backfiles are critical to locating a wealth of useful historic source and citation information. Of the 50 most highly cited items in Web of Science, more than 60% were published over 20 years ago. Via the powerful linking capabilities of the Web, retrospective data becomes easily available and maximizes serendipitous discovery. —Kathy Szigeti

New Platform for ABC-CLIO Databases

The two ABC-CLIO databases, America: History & Life and Historical Abstracts, are now available on the familiar EBSCOhost platform. Advantages of having these core history databases on Ebsco include multiple database searching; easy linking to full-text databases such as JSTOR; personalized folders, a part of My EBSCOhost, for those who choose to create personalized accounts; the Historical Period Limiter, a way to find articles that discuss an event or events that occurred within a specific time frame; and a new cited reference search encompassing both databases. This last feature can be used in conjunction with Web of Science to more accurately gauge the importance to the field of history of any refereed journal article. —David C. Murray

Featured Database: Gale Virtual Reference Library

Temple News reporter recently asked me about underutilized library resources. She wanted to know which resources, if more widely known, would have the greatest positive impact on students’ research. At first I thought about JSTOR,Periodicals Archive Online, and other high-profile journal databases. After some additional thought I began to realize that another category of resources receives far too little attention in today’s research environment. I’m talking about general reference material — scholarly encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, statistical sources, and bibliographies. After all, finding reliable background information — a primary purpose of reference works — is absolutely critical to good research. Temple subscribes to several databases that provide digital versions of traditional encyclopedias and other reference sources. Among these databases are ABC-CLIO eBooksCambridge CompanionsCredo Reference (formerly xreferplus), Gale Virtual Reference LibrarynetLibrary Reference CenterOxford Reference OnlineReference Universe, and Sage eReference.

For history researchers, each of these databases has something to offer. Here I will highlight the Gale Virtual Reference Library, a database that provides full-text access to twenty history reference works, including these four noteworthy titles:

Encyclopaedia Judaica.jpg
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Provides an exhaustive and organized overview of Jewish life and knowledge from the Second Temple period to the contemporary State of Israel, from Rabbinic to modern Yiddish literature, from Kabbalah to Americana and from Zionism to the contribution of Jews to world cultures, Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd edition is important to scholars, general readers and students.
European Social History.jpg
Encyclopedia of European Social History: This six-volume reference includes more than 230 articles, ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 words, on everything from serfdom and the economy, to witchcraft and public health.
Modern Middle East.jpg
Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa: The set covers the modern history of the Middle East and North Africa, with major sections on Colonialism and Imperialism, the World Wars, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the United Nations involvement in the region. Each country in the region is reviewed, detailing its population, economy and government.
History of Ideas.jpg
New Dictionary of the History of Ideas: A six-volume survey of the history of Western thought and culture, presented through 700 alphabetically arranged entries. Each entry explores the origin, cultural interpretations, and historical themes of such subjects as beauty, love, feminism, diversity, and social capital, among many others.

David C. Murray

New Database Trial – Making of Modern Law: Trials 1600-1926

This digital collection contains books and pamphlets, official and unofficial trial documents and materials, legal transcripts, administrative proceedings, and arbitrations. The collection covers trials from all countries and languages, although the great majority are English-language and published in the U.S. or Great Britain. Documents are in PDF format and are fully searchable.

This is a trial sponsored by the Law Library. I’d be interested to know if historians and other social scientists find it useful.

David C. Murray