The students we never see

Paley Library sees thousands of undergraduates each day in its information commons, books stacks, and study spaces, but there are thousands more we rarely see. Since librarians feel strongly that the materials and services we provide both enrich a students’ intellectual life and improve their educational outcomes, we are always looking for new ways to reach students.

On February 10th of this year, a small group of librarians interested in data and statistics met with an undergraduate senior majoring in Risk Management and Insurance (Human Resources track) in the Fox School of Business, Andrea Markofski. She caught the attention of one of our group by commenting on social media about her enthusiasm for a fresh new dataset from the Census Bureau. Since we have little contact with students from this major, we invited her to speak to us about her experiences at Temple. An articulate, candid, and personable individual, Andrea offered us the chance to speak with a student who rarely uses the library. This demographic group is both hard to reach and important for us to understand.

Andrea explained that undergraduate business students take an introductory course in risk management and promising students are encouraged (“tapped”) to major in risk management. Next comes a course that is known informally as the “risk management boot camp” which is a treacherous bridge that stops about half the students who attempt to cross over. Those who succeed select separate tracks such as actuarial studies or employee benefits. Andrea chose the benefits track and became an enthusiastic student.

Risk management is known as a major that leads to good entry-level jobs and great career prospects. When asked about the changes she had seen in the program since her freshman year, Stephanie explained that the program seems to be easing the demands of the boot camp so that more students can major in risk management. Although she enjoys her studies and is looking forward to a career in the field, she is aware of students in her program who are unenthusiastic and simply want to find a good job on graduation. To do her work, Stephanie favors studying in the Tech Center as long as she can find a separate cubicle.

Much of Andrea’s course work involves building and manipulating Excel spreadsheets (though she remembers using other programs occasionally). Her discussion of using linked tables left us with the impression that she was a sophisticated Excel user. The datasets that she uses in her course work are made available in her classes so that she has little need to search for additional data. Though she writes papers that require scholarly sources, she seemed unfamiliar with many of the databases we would suggest that she use. She commented that the databases we described – Risk Abstracts, Business Source Complete, or ABI/INFORM Complete – probably would have saved her some of the time she spent wading through Google search results.

There were some other resources we mentioned in order to gauge her familiarity with the library. As a power user of Excel we wondered if she knew of Lynda.com, a subscription database of tutorials on computer programming and productivity software. We also wondered if she had ever used Refworks, one of the citation management programs to which we subscribe. In neither case had she heard of these resources. For citation management, she turned to RefMan or other free citation management tools recommended by her professors. We were surprised to learn that she was unaware of annual Temple Analytics Challenge in the Fox School because she appeared to be an ideal candidate for the competition.

We would like to thank Andrea Markofski for speaking with us. We learned a lot from her and we look forward to speaking to more students in the future. If you have suggestions about how we improve our services, please feel free to contact us.

Fred Rowland, Rick Lezenby

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Highlighting, Measuring, and Managing Your Research

Are you a graduate student or faculty member? Do you want to understand the current scholarly landscape for measuring, highlighting, and sharing your research?

zotero   academia   webofscience

Tools like Scopus, Web of Science, and Journal Citation Reports provide indicators of research productivity. Portals like Academia.edu, ResearchGate, Humanities Commons, and Google Profiles allow researchers to share their work and network with other scholars. Zotero, EndNote, and Mendeley make organizing and sharing sources a snap. Publishing in open access venues and posting your research to scholarly repositories can enhance your research impact. Familiarity with these new tools and strategies helps researchers find colleagues, collaborators, and funders, as well as facilitates the tenure and promotion process.

The Temple University Libraries will be offering a series of four workshops in the Digital Scholarship Center on highlighting, measuring, and managing your research. Bring your laptop or borrow one in the DSC.

scopus   researchgate   mendeley

Workshop 1: Managing Your Research
Wednesday, March 29, 11-12, DSC

  • Attendees will gain an understanding of the features of these reference management and sharing tools and their areas of overlap with academic social networks. They will understand some key functional and disciplinary considerations when selecting the proper tool.
  • Register for Workshop 1

Workshop 2: Developing Your Scholarly Profile
Wednesday, April 5, 11-12, DSC

  • The professional and ethical uses of academic social networks such as ResearchGate and Academia as well as preferences of scholars in different disciplines will be explored.  We will talk about ORCiD and other researcher IDs and how they can be used to enhance your online profile.
  • Register for Workshop 2

Workshop 3: Amplifying Your Research Impact
Wednesday, April 12, 11-12, DSC

  • Attendees will learn how to effectively promote and share their research online. We will discuss best practices for using social media, explain how to deposit research outputs in disciplinary repositories, and explore tools and platforms that can help authors expand their readership.
  • Register for Workshop 3

Workshop 4: Measuring Research Impact
Wednesday, April 19, 11-12, DSC

  • Attendees will gain strategies for identifying and measuring their research impact using available online tools. Important buzzwords like citation metrics, impact factors, and the h-index will be explained and applied in a variety of disciplinary contexts.
  • Register for Workshop 4
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Protecting Your Personal Privacy in a Digital World

Surveillance Cameras          Laptop Spying           Spy Silhouette

Announcing a new workshop…

Protecting Your Personal Privacy in a Digital World

Date: Thursday, March 2, 2017, 11-12
Location: Digital Scholarship Center (DSC)
Sign Up (or just show up)

Date: Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 11-12
Location: Digital Scholarship Center (DSC)
Sign Up  (or just show up)

Date: Thursday, March 23, 2017, 11-12
Location: Digital Scholarship Center (DSC)

We live in an age of pervasive digital surveillance, whether those prying eyes are marketers, hackers, governments, or employers. Learning the principles of online digital privacy is essential for navigating daily online activities, such as communicating with friends, engaging in social activism, or accessing a banking or credit card account.

This workshop will provide the tools and tips you need to make more informed decisions concerning your online activity. Here are some questions we will answer:

  • How can I manage all my passwords?
  • What options are available for browsing anonymously online?
  • Should I use the cloud to sync my devices?
  • How can I chat online privately?
  • What are some trusted sources for learning more about digital privacy and security?

Since each individual’s “threat model” is different, this workshop aims to provide practical information to help you think more clearly about your digital privacy needs. Our intended audience is the community of regular Internet users who wish to start thinking a little more systematically about their online activity.

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The Virgin Mary in 19th Century American Culture

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In contemporary American culture the Virgin Mary is associated with Catholic devotion and worship. Because of this, it should come as a surprise to many readers that the mother of Jesus was a general cultural icon in the latter half of nineteenth century Christian America. Temple professor Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez details this history in her new book, The Valiant Woman: The Virgin Mary in Nineteenth Century American Culture (Temple / Amazon). Images and references to Mary proliferated in popular magazines and on the walls of modest and fashionable homes, appealing to both Protestant and Catholic audiences. The Civil War, industrial revolution, and westward expansion transformed the United States. The rise of major urban centers like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and St. Louis drew in rural migrants and immigrants, unsettling religious, gender, and social norms. In these early years of mass society when the old agrarian ways were slipping away, the focus on the Virgin Mary offered a safe and familiar way of talking about and negotiating new female roles in this changing social landscape. Professor Alvarez traces the career of Mary from the declaration of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX in 1854 through its fiftieth anniversary in 1904.

I spoke with Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez about her new book on November 7, 2016.

 

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Vikings Visit Minnesota in 1362

davidkrueger

 

Well, not really, but that’s a story that had significant purchase in early 20th century Minnesota. In 1898 a Swedish immigrant discovered a buried stone with runic letters and the date 1362. The archaic Scandinavian script described a fishing party that returned to its camp to find “10 men red with blood and dead.”

8 Swedes and 22 Norwegians on an exploration journey from Vinland westward. We had our camp by two rocky islets one day’s journey north of this stone. We were out fishing one day. When we came home we found 10 men with blood and dead. AVM, save us from evil. We have 10 men by the sea to look after our ships, 14 days’ journey from this island. Year: 1362. [Translation by Erik Wahlgren, The Kensington Stone: A Mystery Solved]

The news of the apparent visitation of fourteenth century Scandinavians to the great state of Minnesota was enthusiastically received by their latter day heirs. With so many immigrants entering the United States, it was reassuring to learn that these norsemen had staked a claim to the United States more than 100 years before Columbus. Better yet, they had baptized the soil with their own blood, consecrating it as holy ground.

As the authenticity of the “Kensington Rune Stone” came under question, supporters dismissed much of the evidence produced by pointy-headed academics in their ivory towers. Though the scientific consensus has clearly declared the stone a fake, books are still written “proving” its authenticity. In Myths of the Rune Stone: Viking Martyrs and the Birthplace of America, historian and religion scholar David Krueger investigates the century-long story arc of this cultural artifact. He explores the passion for the Rune Stone among Scandinavian and, later, Catholics, who were intent on establishing their rightful place in the American community.

Beyond the history of the Rune Stone itself, Krueger’s work provides valuable insights on the history of immigrant communities and the ways they seek to blend their ancestral histories into a new and imagined cultural landscape. Readers will find the themes of Myths of the Rune Stone illuminating in this time of increased tension and inflammatory rhetoric surrounding immigration.

I spoke with David Krueger on November 9, 2016, the morning after the election of Donald Trump to the presidency.

—Fred Rowland

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Who is Fethullah Gulen?

Jon Pahl Professor Jon Pahl

 

On the evening July 15, 2016 elements of the Turkish military executed a failed coup against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Tanks and armored vehicles rolled into the capital Ankara and Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, bridges were blocked, and helicopters and F-16s flew overhead. Battles between the coup plotters and government loyalists left over 250 dead. President Erdogan, on vacation in the coastal city of Marmaris, flew into Istanbul and urged followers to take to the streets to resist the coup.

Within a day of the coup attempt, President Erdogan and his government were back in control of Turkey and he began a widespread purge of the military, media, courts, and educational institutions. Before the details were even known, it became clear that Erdogan saw this as an opportunity to eliminate his enemies and consolidate power. On August 2, the Financial Times reported that “almost 70,000 people have been arrested, suspended or fired.” (Turkey’s purge reaches beyond the coup plotters) The New York Times Online made comparisons to “Joseph McCarthy‘s anti-Communist witch hunt in 1950s America, the Stalinist purges of the 1930s and the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s and ’70s.” (Turks see purge as witch hunt of ‘medieval’ darkness’, 9/16/16) Though there was little support among Turkish citizens for the coup, the scope of the purge threatens basic democratic governance in Turkey.

Responsibility for the coup quickly settled on the Gulen Movement, whose members were arrested, jailed, and in some cases possibly tortured. The followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Sufi cleric living in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, constitute a decentralized movement that is international in scope, with schools in over 100 countries. The Gulen Movement in Turkey, its country of origin, was – until recently – represented in the highest reaches of the military, judiciary, media, and economy. Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party have targeted Gulenists for several years now and these purges continue his effort to eliminate their influence across Turkish society. Gulen has been accused of masterminding the coup and an arrest warrant was issued against him in an Istanbul court in August. The Turkish government is seeking Gulen’s extradition from the United States to stand trial in Turkey.

As accusations against Gulen began piling up in the Turkish and international media in the aftermath of the coup, I thought of Professor Jon Pahl of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. I knew he was working on a biography of Fethullah Gulen and I was interested in hearing what he had to say about Gulen, the Gulen Movement, and recent events in Turkey. Professor Pahl posted a blog at the University of California Press titled Don’t Make A Mystic into a Martyr: Fethullah Gülen as Peacebuilder on July 24, 2016.

I spoke to Joh Pahl on October 6, 2016.

 

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Metropolitan Jews

BermanHeadshot

 

In Metropolitan Jews: Politics, Race, and Religion in Postwar Detroit (University of Chicago Press, 2015), History Professor Lila Berman analyzes the Jewish sense of place in Detroit during the twentieth century, first in neighborhoods such as Hastings Street, Dexter-Davison, and Bagley and then in the wider metropolitan area. In the first half century, Jews settled near the Detroit River and then gradually moved north and west. While there was little Jewish presence in the booming auto industry, Jews opened small business establishments, became involved in real estate, and pursued educational opportunities as the community developed vibrant religious and civic institutions.

At mid-century, Detroit began experiencing many of the convulsions that would shake other eastern and midwestern cities. The auto industry, which had built Detroit, began shifting its operations outside the city. White flight accompanied de-industrialization as federally subsidized mortgage loans financed new suburban housing developments from which African Americans were excluded. Detroit began losing popuation while the percentage of African Americans increased and the tax base shrank. For those Jews who remained, there were intense struggles over race, politics, employment, and housing.

Many Jews joined other white ethnics leaving Detroit. As the Jewish community became more established outside the city limits, what were the considerations with regards to synagogues, religious and civic organizations, and homes and businesses left behind? And how did the Jewish community respond to the struggles over politics, employment, and housing? Lila Berman tells the story of the Jewish community and its sense of place as it grew from small city neighborhoods to the wider Detroit metropolitan area.

I spoke to Lila Berman on March 28, 2016.

—Fred Rowland

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Death in the Shape of a Young Girl

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Is personal self-defense the only legitimate argument for violence according to feminists? How should they understand violent poitical resistance? Can a real feminist advocate political violence? These are some of the questions that Professor Patricia Melzer addresses in her new book, Death in the Shape of a Young Girl: Women’s Poltical Violence in the Red Army Faction (New York University Press, 2015).

As Melzer explains, there was an interpretive turn within the feminist movement during the 1970s and 1980s which increasingly associated feminism with nonviolence. Whereas patriarchy had formerly shared responsibility with economic and political structures for women’s oppression, it began to assume the leading role. As feminism narrowed its focus to patriarchal violence – especially the personal physical abuse of men against women – the nurturing role of women and mothers became more essential to feminism’s understanding of itself.

By focusing on the Red Army Faction (RAF), a West German terrorist group which had many femaie members, including leaders, Melzer complicates our contemporary understanding of feminism and violence. She also analyzes the ways German media portrayed the lives and acts of these terrorists through a gendered lens that was very often inaccurate and misleading. I spoke to Patricia Melzer on April 4, 2016.

—Fred Rowland

 

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2015-2016 Livingstone Award Interviews

I was able to catch up with four of the six 2015-2016 Livingstone Prize Winners before they dispersed for the summer. Below are the interviews I recorded with these intelligent and talented undergraduate men and women.

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

 

  • 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

 

  • 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

 

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Highlighting, Measuring, and Managing Your Research

Are you a graduate student or faculty member? Do you want to understand the current scholarly landscape for measuring, highlighting, and sharing your research?

zotero   academia   webofscience

Tools like Scopus, Web of Science, and Journal Citation Reports provide indicators of research productivity. Portals like Academia.edu, ResearchGate, and Google Profiles allow researchers to share their work and network with other scholars. Zotero, EndNote, and Mendeley make organizing and sharing sources a snap. In an increasingly competitive professional environment, familiarity with these new tools and strategies is a necessity for finding colleagues, collaborators, and funders, as well as facilitating the tenure and promotion process.

The Temple University Libraries will be offering a series of three workshops in the Digital Scholarship Center on highlighting, measuring, and managing your research. Bring your laptop or borrow one in the DSC.

scopus   researchgate   mendeley

Workshop 1: Measuring Research Impact
Thursday, March 31, 11-12, DSC

  • Attendees will gain strategies for identifying and measuring their research impact using available online tools. Important concepts like citation metrics, impact factors, and the h-index will be explained and applied in a variety of disciplinary contexts.

Workshop 2: Developing Your Scholarly Profile
Thursday, April 7, 11-12, DSC

  • Attendees will understand the value of ORCID and other Researcher IDs and how to use them to configure scholarly profiles in academic social networks. The professional and ethical uses of academic social networks as well as preferences of scholars in different disciplines will be explored.

Workshop 3: Sharing Your Research
Thursday, April 14, 11-12, DSC

  • Attendees will gain an understanding of the features of these reference management and sharing tools and their areas of overlap with academic social networks. They will understand some key functional and disciplinary considerations when selecting the proper tool.
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