Future Proofing Civic Data

Exploring the challenges of preserving open civic data for the long term

This past year, Temple University Libraries received a Knight Foundation Grant, “Knight News Challenge on Libraries,” to lead an exploratory research project, Future Proofing Civic Data, investigating the challenges of long-term preservation for open civic datasets.

Open civic data portals, such as OpenDataPhilly in Philadelphia, have been a growing trend in cities, states, and national governments over the last decade. Many governments and other civic partners began developing open civic data initiatives in order to make data originating from governmental agencies and civic organizations easily accessible online for immediate consultation, as well as for data reuse. Datasets can include anything from election results to operating budgets to an inventory of all the trees in a city. The hope is that these portals can help bridge the gap between citizens and government and stimulate civic engagement by making data of relevance to citizens easily accessible online.

However, portals do not always have fully formed or fully implemented plans to ensure the long-term preservation of those datasets, and best practices are yet to emerge in that domain.

The Temple Library project team interviewed over a dozen stakeholders about their use cases and needs and looked at several open civic data initiatives in Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh, to compare practices and examine real-life examples. We wrote up our findings in a white paper where we explore ten important factors that need to be taken into consideration, if we are to tackle long-term preservation of civic data successfully. We also look at how libraries could take the lead, or at least participate in the process.

Please see the full white paper for more details.

The project team was comprised of Joe Lucia (PI), Rachel Appel, Delphine Khanna, Chad Nelson, Margery Sly, and Gretchen Sneff.

Dear Temple, Welcome Back! Love, the Libraries

It may be a new year and the start of a new semester, but the Libraries are here, as always, to help you learn and succeed, with materials, resources, and a whole slew of free academic and cultural programs.

Paley Library, photo courtesy Chris Kendig

For example, did you know you could save money and borrow your course textbooks right here in the Libraries? Check out Course Reserves and see if your instructor has placed any of your course materials on reserve.

From bottom left: Librarians Sarah Jones, Latanya Jenkins, and Urooj Nizami share information about library resources with students. Photo courtesy Chris Kendig.

As a member of the Temple community, you also have access to the Libraries’ vast collection of databases for your research, including Nexis Uni, which is back by popular demand!

Not sure where to start? We have comprehensive Research Guides for each of your course subjects, as well as our How Do I…? guides for help with basic tasks and services.

And don’t forget about the Libraries’ Beyond the Page public programming series, where you can find a variety of free programs, concerts, workshops, and more to keep you intellectually engaged this semester.

Here are a few more tips to help you start the new year off right!

  • Check out our Media Services, where you can borrow DVDs, audio and camera equipment, Chromebooks, iPads, and more.
  • Use the newly streamlined Library Search to discover books, ebooks, articles, and much more.
  • Discover who the Subject Librarian is for each of your courses and use our Ask a Librarian service to get in touch.
  • Explore all the cool things you can do at the Digital Scholarship Center, including 3D printing!
  • The Libraries are here for all your Printing needs.
  • This story from a fall issue of Nutshell has even MORE tips!

A workshop in the Digital Scholarship Center, photo courtesy Brae Howard

Extended Saturday Hours at Paley!

Starting at 8:00 AM on December 7 through 8:00 PM on December 20, the Libraries go 24/7 for final exams. But we’re sweetening the deal! Leading up to December 7, we’re extending our Saturday hours and staying open until 10:00 PM (instead of 7:00 PM). So whether you’re working on a group project or a research paper, we’ve got you covered during the end of the semester crunch.

Remember you can book a study room ahead of time, and stay tuned for information about snacks, activities, and therapy dogs coming at you during reading days and finals period.


*Please note that normal Saturday hours (9:00 AM–7:00 PM) will apply on the Saturday that falls over Fall Break (November 25).*

Preparing Paley Library Collections for the New Library: Managing Our Print Journal Collection

As progress is made on Temple’s new central library, our staff continues to prepare the collections for the move. The migration, like any move, provides an opportunity to reevaluate our current collections and create space for other materials, including our ever-expanding archives and special collections.

With this in mind, the library administrative team has made the decision to deaccession a selection of print journals that we receive in digital form. This change will result in no loss of access. All selections—approximately 1,000 titles constituting approximately 80,000 volumes, the large majority already stored offsite—will continue to be available online via stable providers and in print through one of our library partners.

Completing this undertaking now will reduce the time and expense involved in moving our collections to the new library building. The process of deaccessioning becomes more complicated once materials have been added to the automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS).

While preservation of the scholarly record remains a central tenet of Temple Libraries’ mission, this is accomplished collectively with our many library partners.  In today’s world of ready online access to journal content and robust sharing agreements among libraries, it is not necessary for all libraries, even research libraries, to maintain hundreds of volumes of seldom used print journal archives.

Please feel free to contact Dean of Libraries Joe Lucia, at joe.lucia@temple.edu, with any questions or concerns about this process.

Back to School with Temple University Libraries

Jasmine, Cynthia, and Urooj at the Libraries’ Temple Fest table on Wednesday, August 23, photo courtesy Sara Curnow Wilson

Welcome to Fall 2017 at the Libraries! Whether this is your first semester or your last, we invite you to explore the variety of resources, services, materials, and programs the Libraries offer every day.

For undergraduates who are looking for a refresher or introduction to services, our Undergraduate User Guide is a good place to start!

We also have information about services for graduate students, faculty, alumni, and visitors.

Here are a few highlights to get you started:

  • Check out our Media Services, where you can borrow DVDs, audio and camera equipment, Chromebooks, iPads, and more.
  • Use the newly streamlined Library Search to discover books, ebooks, articles, and much more.
  • Discover who the Subject Librarian is for each of your courses and use our Ask a Librarian service to get in touch.
  • Explore all the cool things you can do at the Digital Scholarship Center, including 3D printing!
  • Don’t forget, the Libraries are here for all your Printing needs.

Visit us at Temple Fest on Wednesday (8/30) for even MORE information and goodies. As always, we send you best wishes for a great semester.

Beckie and D’Era at the Libraries’ Temple Fest table, Thursday, August 24, photo courtesy Kaitlyn Semborski

Important Update to the Library Search

The Library Search will be updated this weekend in order to remove groupings that merged together “multiple versions” of a work in the search results. This will significantly impact the search results in the Library Search, improving the discovery of different formats and editions. 

This update will kick off on Friday July 28th and should be complete before Monday July 31st. There will likely be incremental changes over the course of the weekend, but throughout this process, you will still be able to access all of our records in the Library Search.

If you have any questions, please contact asktulibrary@temple.edu. 

The Library Search is now live!

On July 3, 2017, the Libraries, under the leadership of Director of Library Technology and Knowledge Management, David Lacy, launched the Library Search, which replaces Summon and Diamond. The new search is now your gateway to discover books, journal articles, and much more.

Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for more information and check the Libraries’ website over the summer for further updates.

Graduates: Learn About Your Alumni Privileges at the Libraries!

Congratulations new Temple grads! Did you know that your access to the Libraries doesn’t end here? As an alum, you can continue to use the Libraries as your gateway for lifelong learning.

Alumni services include:

  • Borrowing Privileges
  • Entry to Programs and Events
  • AskALibrarian Reference               Services
  • Use of Electronic Resources While On Campus

Find out more about other services and apply for your Alumni Borrowers Card.

Stay in Touch
Connect with the Libraries on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and sign up for our mailing list to receive updates and information about upcoming programs. Email byndthpg@temple.edu to add your name to the list.

Introducing the Library Search

library search banner

On June 29, 2017, the Libraries, under the leadership of Director of Library Technology and Knowledge Management, David Lacy, will launch a new Library Search system to replace Summon and the library catalog (known as Diamond). Beginning in June, this new search will be the gateway to discover books, ebooks, journal articles, archival material, and library research guides. Throughout the 2017-18 academic year, the Libraries will solicit feedback from library patrons and continue to develop and build upon a new discovery environment. Based on the feedback and development work, an enhanced version including additional resources will be launched in June of 2018 along with a new website in anticipation of moving into Temple’s extraordinary new library building.

Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for more information and check the Libraries’ website over the summer for further updates.

What You Need to Know Before June 29th:

For faculty, students, and staff:

As part of this launch, saved lists, preferred searches, and reading histories in Diamond will go away on June 29th. If you use these opt-in features, export now!

For faculty:

Links to library resources may change. This may include those that you have saved in Blackboard/LCMS+.

If you have any further questions, please contact asktulibrary@temple.edu.


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.