Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award winners announced

The Livingstone Undergraduate Research Awards—formerly known as the Library Prize—are Temple University Libraries’ reshaped, expanded, and improved initiative rewarding the best undergraduate work at the university. The Livingstone Awards address the depth and breadth of undergraduate research subjects, methods, and projects through five distinct categories: humanities and social sciences; science, technology, engineering, and mathematical disciplines; creative works and media production; policy, practice, and public life; and sustainability and the environment. The awards have been renamed to honor our generous donor, John H. Livingstone, SBM ‘49, who has supported undergraduate research through the Library Prize and now Livingstone Awards for more than a decade.

We are happy to announce this year’s award winning projects!

Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
“Glory of Yet Another Kind”: The Evolution & Politics of First-Wave Queer Activism, 1867-1924 by GVGK Tang

Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in the STEM Disciplines
Using Green Infrastructure to Minimize Combined Sewer Overflows by Morgan Nemtuda

Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in Creative Works and Media Production
Two awards given:
Mother Internet : Blessed Virgin : A Coming of Age Story by Elizabeth Baber

This Side of Main Street by Daniel Clark

Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in Policy, Practice, and Public Life
Cultural Property Repatriation: History, Legality, and Ethical Precedent for Museums in the United States by Rhiannon Bell

Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in Sustainability and the Environment (sponsored by Gale, part of Cengage Learning)
The Mobilization of the Environmental Justice Movement in Louisiana: EJ Disputes and Grassroots Organizing in the Mississippi Industrial Corridor by Joseph Gallagher

Congratulations to all of our winners! Please join us for the Livingstone Undergraduate Research Awards ceremony on April 12th from 4-6pm in the Library’s Lecture Hall to celebrate Temple’s outstanding undergraduate research.

How is scholarly publishing like using Facebook?

One absurdity of the current scholarly communications system consists of the arrangement by which faculty hand the products of their research over to publishers, who then charge university libraries enormous sums to repurchase access to the resulting articles. Publishers also ask faculty for uncompensated work as anonymous peer reviewers. In a curious disconnect, faculty function as part of a “gift economy”, giving away work in exchange for prestige and potential career advancement, while publishers function squarely as part of the “market economy”.

In truth, almost all of us take part in a similar exchange on a daily basis.

Free web services like Facebook or Google apps can operate as free sites in part because they sell details about your online behavior to companies known as “data brokers”. Facebook alone sells information to four separate companies: Acxiom, Datalogix, Epsilon, and BlueKai. Details on how to opt out of this data collection can be found on this post by the digital rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation. And you thought keeping your regular Facebook privacy settings up-to-date was difficult!

The primary customers of the data brokers are advertisers who use information collected by online services for targeted marketing campaigns. That’s why, following the revelations of NSA data collection, the Onion ran a piece with the ironic headline “Area Man Outraged His Private Information Being Collected By Someone Other Than Advertisers”. However, it isn’t hard to imagine that large scale data collection might lead to worse abuses than advertisers sending cheese coupons based on grocery store loyalty card data.

Some scholars predict that “big data” collection could sometimes benefit the public. For instance, epidemiologists could use mobile phone GPS data to track and predict the spread of an infectious disease, thus halting the disease’s progress. Nonetheless, many of the same scholars acknowledge that, due to the potential for misuse of “big data”, an open discussion must occur about the many privacy issues involved.

One such thinker, MIT’s Alex Pentland, has coined the phrase the “New Deal on Data” to describe his proposal for resolving this issue. His plan consists of three tenets: you should have the right to possess your own data, the right to control use of your data by opting-in (with plain language explanations of any possible uses), and the right to dispose of or distribute your personal data as you see fit. Also, just as in other research studies, “big data” projects should anonymize their data sets. Imagine how empowering it would be to control how corporations or scientists make use of the data traces you leave behind in everyday online life.

In Pentland’s proposed data policy, I see yet another similarity to Open Access publishing. The Open Access movement encourages authors to retain copyright on their work, so that they can continue to make use of it as they see fit. And most scholars will choose to distribute their work broadly if it will benefit the public good, for instance, by giving doctors in the information-poor developing world knowledge of a life saving treatment. Perhaps we would do the same with data on our online behavior…it would be nice to have a choice.

Further reading:
Everything We Know About What Data Brokers Know About You

Library Virtual Learning Lunches to be held September 3-6, 2013

Screenshot of WebEx software

When the Temple University community returns from summer break, students will be attending classes from off-campus, and from locations well outside the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Luckily, even at this distance, all Temple students still have access to the incredible wealth of databases, eBooks, and streaming media available through the library. Now, more than ever, students can engage directly with the library staff who are positioned to guide them towards academic success.

Temple librarians already provide specialized assistance to remote students with through our “Ask a Librarian” service. We also offer in-class information literacy instruction to students enrolled in some online-only courses.

In order to extend library instruction to remote learners and faculty teaching online courses, Temple University Libraries is pleased to offer our first ever Virtual Learning Lunch Week on September 3rd-6th. Each session will consist of 20 minute long presentations, designed to jumpstart your use of various library services and resources, with additional time to ask the librarian your questions on the topic.

Sessions are open to the whole Temple community, no matter whether you are many miles away or right next-door. To attend, login to with your AccessNetID and password. Click on “Live Sessions” under “Attend a Session” and look for the day’s “Library Virtual Learning Lunch”. (Please note: first-time WebEx users should arrive a few minutes early to install the WebEx Add-On on their computer or the Cisco WebEx Meeting app on their mobile device.)

The event starts off with a Tuesday session designed to help faculty use the new Ares course reserve system, followed by one explaining the legal ins-and-outs of using video in both face-to-face and online classes. On Wednesday and Thursday, we continue with sessions fostering basic research skills and highlighting some of the useful databases and unique resources available at the library. Then, Friday sessions introduce both students and faculty to the streaming media available through the library, resources equally useful for research and leisure.

September 3rd
12:00pm – Ares course reserves system (Justin Hill)
12:30pm – Video copyright basics for faculty (Brian Boling)
September 4th
12:00pm – Refworks for citation management (Fred Rowland)
12:30pm – Basic research in education (Jackie Sipes)
September 5th
12:00pm – Learn about primary sources (David Murray)
12:30pm – Special Collections Research Center orientation (Josue Hurtado)
September 6th
12:00pm – Streaming Music Databases (Anne Harlow)
12:30pm – Streaming Video Databases (Brian Boling)

Kathleen Fitzpatrick discusses social possibilities in online scholarship

Portrait of Kathleen Fitzpatrick.

On March 7, 2013, the Center for the Humanities At Temple (CHAT) hosted Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication at the Modern Language Association. Dr. Fitzpatrick’s talk, The Humanities In & For the Digital Age, focused on how scholars can leverage digital technologies to solve deep contradictions that currently plague academic publishing.

Fitzpatrick argued for the peer-to-peer structure of online communication as a corrective to problems with traditional peer review processes. Online publishing platforms allow scholars to publish their work earlier, calling on a supportive network of known peers to provide feedback during an idea’s development. This approach also lets academic authors remain engaged with their work longer, as their focus shifts from completing scholarly productions to the process involved in knowledge creation.

Fitzpatrick expects that an additional benefit of this new mode of authorship will be greater scholarly engagement with the broader culture, bringing with it greater awareness of the humanities’ potential for enriching public life.  For such changes to bear fruit, the conservative culture of academia will need to recognize online publication and review as valuable activities meriting tenure consideration.

Rather than claiming that technology itself is a panacea to the scholarly communication crisis, Fitzpatrick’s work highlights the quintessentially social nature of the best technological solutions. She has incorporated these ideas into her own scholarly practices, releasing an online draft of her most recent book Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy for open review. At the Modern Language Association, she has helped in the development of MLA Commons, an online space where association members can form fluid groups to share and review work-in-progress.

A Digital Public Library of America Free-For-All

Portrait of John Palfrey.

On February 6, 2013, the Center for the Humanities At Temple (CHAT) hosted John Palfrey from the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

DPLA has been in the planning stages since 2010 and will have its kickoff in April 2013. Palfrey explained that digital libraries have typically not undergone the level of deliberate planning used during the architectural design of the past’s glorious library buildings. Thus, DPLA considers it important to build an information architecture that will support the project well into the future.

Rather than being a massive repository of digital works, DPLA is designed as a repository of metadata about works held by the country’s other digital libraries. Users can search this metadata to find pathways to digital objects held in previously hard-to-locate information silos.

An important aspect of this open, distributed infrastructure is its modularity. DPLA believes in making their code, metadata, and content free to all. This model will allow any programmer or developer to create applications that access the DPLA metadata in new, creative, and useful ways.

One interesting concern expressed by Palfrey is the idea that we are a critical juncture in the divide between public and privatized information. Today’s cloud-based systems and their ownership by private, profit-driven firms set dangerous precedents that work against the public interest. Consider, for example, the large sums Temple pays for subscription databases and scholarly journals. Palfrey hopes that projects such as DPLA, Open Access publishing, and Wikipedia-style development will shift the balance of information power back to the wider community.

Media Services Launches Blog & Twitter Feed

Media Services has launched a blog and a Twitter feed to highlight new video acquisitions and arrivals in the department.

If you want to know “What new DVDs do you have?” then check these out:

Find the blog at

Find the Twitter feed at

For both of these you can either bookmark the page, or, subscribe to the page’s RSS feed.

Media Services is located on the Ground Floor of Paley Library. Send your questions and comments to

Happy viewing!