Open Access Week 2016

There is a serious, systemic problem in scholarly publishing that disadvantages academic authors, their institutions, the global research community, and the general public. The problem stems from the subscription-based model of scholarly publishing, whereby publishers place academic journal articles behind paywalls so that anyone can’t pay can’t read them.

Content by Jill Cirasella and Graphic Design by Les LaRue,  used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

Content by Jill Cirasella and Graphic Design by Les LaRue, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

Open Access (OA) is a movement based on the principle that this situation is fundamentally unjust, and that the fruits of academic endeavor should be freely available to everyone. OA archiving and publishing are the two main strategies for accomplishing this goal, and they promise to benefit both the global research community and individual authors, moving published research into the open and thereby broadening its readership and generating more citations. OA is also fast becoming a requirement for recipients of research funding, as many public and private funding agencies are enacting public access policies to make the results of funded research accessible to all.

Open Access Week, Oct. 24-30, is an opportunity for the global research community to learn more about this important movement and the many ongoing efforts to make it the new norm in research and scholarship. To celebrate the occasion, FSU Libraries is hosting a number of workshops related to OA publishing, and we hope you’ll join us to learn more about OA and how it can benefit you as a student, teacher, or researcher. In addition, we’d also like to take this opportunity to highlight some important milestones in efforts to advance OA at FSU over the past year:

So, what can you do to advance the cause of OA and start taking advantages of the benefits it can bring to you as a scholar?

For more information, see our research guide on Open Access, or contact Devin Soper, Scholarly Communications Librarian at FSU Libraries’ Office of Digital Research & Scholarship. And don’t forget to follow the conversation on Twitter! #OAweekFSU

books and bytes

Discover DH: An Introduction to Digital Humanities Theories and Methods

For budding digital humanists, it can often be difficult to know what you need to learn. On top of writing for courses, exams, presentations, and learning the traditional work of your field, you now need to learn a series of unfamiliar methods and terms (many of them opaque acronyms: RDF, TEI, JSON). Even knowing where to ask for help is a challenge, since DH resources are frequently scattered across campus.

FSU digital humanists

A sample of the FSU DH network.

If you’re attuned to channels of communication in the digital humanities, you’ve probably seen a lot of learning opportunities this summer: DHSI in Victoria, HILT in Indiana, the DH conference (in Kraków this year). All of these are excellent places to immerse yourself in the field of digital humanities and to learn about the great work current scholars in the field are doing. There’s only one problem: these conferences and training events are prohibitively expensive. Even with scholarships and waived tuition, it can be very difficult to get yourself across the country (or the globe!) to learn about DH, especially if you’re in school.

This is why the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship is offering a 10-week workshop series on topics in the digital humanities. These classes are designed with busy students and scholars in mind. We will be offering two sessions per each weekly course, with one session in Strozier library and another in a different building on campus. The workshops are divided into “hack” and “yack”: sessions that are discussion-based and sessions focusing on learning a new tool or DH skill, respectively.

We’ll be offering sessions on the following topics:

  • Getting Started in the Digital Humanities
  • Markdown and GitHub
  • Managing Digital Projects
  • Text Analysis and Visualization
  • Copyright and Digital Projects
  • Introduction to Text Encoding
  • Digital Tools in the Classroom
  • Network Visualization
  • Mapping
  • Publishing in the Digital Humanities

More details about the individual sessions and scheduling are at the Digital Research and Scholarship website. You can also register for individual workshops on our calendar.

Come join us in exploring this exciting new area!

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon: Using maps to fill in gaps

Maps have long served as a tool for colonialism, by promoting conquest, dividing up land, and asserting ownership. This 16th century Europa Regina map exemplifies this, by positioning Europe as a world ruler, and sequestering other continents off to the sidelines. Indeed, maps often distort the size and shape of the world, so that European powers seem the most prominent and powerful within the image.


Map of Europe as a queen, printed by Sebastian Munster in Basel in 1570.

The advent of many new digital tools has given us means to push back against the dominant narratives that maps tell us about our world. Tools like this map puzzle allow us to see how projections distort the sizes of certain countries. Mapping projects like those at Radical Cartography give us a window into how we can represent geospatial information differently and critically.

Digital platforms like Wikipedia also give us the opportunity to present new and different information about the world that could not necessarily be contained in paper resources. In that spirit, the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship is hosting a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, in collaboration with the Department of Art History and the Caribes project. The focus of the edit-a-thon will be topics related to the Caribbean. We will edit and correct existing pages to add more resources, citations, and information. We will also create new pages about important topics that have not been entered into Wikipedia yet.


A map of all the the Caribbean buildings that have stub articles in Wikipedia. Generated for FSU Libraries’ Caribbean Wikipedia Edit-a-thon 4/16/2016.

For the occasion, I decided to create a map of the Wikipedia stubs related to the Caribbean. I focused on the Caribbean buildings and structures stub list, since this project is a collaboration with an Caribbean architecture project (Caribes). I found the geographical coordinates for all of the entries that were categorized as stubs. This allows us to visualize the areas of the Caribbean that have less complete information in Wikipedia.

Mapping could be used to visualize many other gaps in Wikipedia’s information base, and this is certainly not the only area in which Wikipedia is lacking. However, digital tools and resources like digital maps and Wikipedia could allow us to shift the focus towards important but underrepresented figures, events, and movements in the world’s history. However, we can only accomplish this if we put time into building out those information sources.

Join us this Thursday April 14th, from 10a-2p in the Art and Design Library (2020 WJB) for the Caribbean Wikipedia edit-a-thon. Bring a laptop if you can, and we’ll provide the training, treats, and text resources.

So FSU passed an open access policy… what does that mean for me?

Perhaps you are a new professor at Florida State University. And perhaps you have some articles you would like to publish. However, there are a few things getting in your way:

  1. Publishing contracts often confusing and restrictive, leaving faculty with little control over their work once it has been published
  2. The journals you would like to publish in often keep your work behind a paywall so that only a fraction of the world’s population can access it (which decreases your the impact of your research)
  3. Journals that do allow you to make your work openly available often have high article processing charges (APCs) which you can’t necessarily afford

CcAVRFDXIAAQTSMTwo recent developments may help you with these conundrums. The first is the Faculty Senate Open Access Policy. This policy was passed by unanimous vote on February 17th of this year. It creates a safe harbor for faculty intellectual property rights by granting FSU permission to share scholarly journal articles for non-commercial purposes. Basically, this gives faculty the language to avoid overly-restrictive publication contracts, and allows them to more easily share their work, despite publishers’ efforts to put scholarship behind a paywall.

sm-diginolelaunchThe launch of DigiNole: FSU’s Research Repository comes on the heels of the OA Policy, and provides faculty with a platform for making their research publicly available online. DigiNole is an open access repository, which allows anyone to view the scholarship contained within it. By making all of FSU’s articles available in repositories like DigiNole, scholars and researchers can increase the visibility and impact of their research by 50-500%, according to several studies. You can even track your impact more easily with DigiNole, since faculty who deposit their scholarship get monthly readership reports with analytics on the use of their scholarship. Having easy access to these numbers can help with hiring and promotion, as it gives you concrete and tangible evidence of your impact.

The Office of Digital Research and Scholarship at the University Libraries specializes in academic publishing and open access. If you have any questions about DigiNole or the OA policy, contact Devin Soper (850.645.2600), Scholarly Communications Librarian at Strozier Library.

FSU digital humanists

Visualizing FSU’s Digital Scholarship Network

It can be difficult to get started in interdisciplinary fields like the digital humanities, since people and resources are sometimes fractured and spread across different departments, schools, and even institutions. As a new staff member, I encountered this problem first hand. I often needed to know about the happenings in digital humanities around campus, but struggled to find out what goes on outside of my own department in the library. Since I am a member of the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship (and since we are always trying out and teaching digital research tools), I decided to use Gephi to solve this problem.

Gephi is used to create network graphs—visualizations that show connections between different things. The “things” that we are trying to connect are called “nodes” and the connections themselves are called “edges.” Scott Weingart’s excellent “Demystifying Networks, Parts I & II” provides a detailed overview of the terminology and logistics of networks.

In the context of my project, the “nodes” are people, projects, and places on FSU’s campus. The “edges,” lines, connect people to places and projects, and projects to places. All this data was compiled into two separate comma separated value (.csv) files: one that described the different nodes, and another that showed which nodes were connected to each other.¹ I then uploaded these files into Gephi’s data laboratory.

Gephi automatically generated a very simple, grey, and bland network graph. I then edited the view so that nodes displayed different colors depending on what type of node it was. People are purple, projects are green, and “places” (departments/discussion groups) are red. I then changed the display so that the nodes were generally evenly spaced, which allowed for better visibility.² I also made the node labels visible, which allows you to see the names of the different entities in the digital scholarship environment at FSU. And here’s what the graph looks like!

network visualization

The FSU Digital Scholarship Network. For a larger, better-quality version of this image, click here

Now, this visualization is nowhere near the complete network of people doing digital work at FSU. It was really only generated from the people and projects that the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship has encountered in our short existence, but we will continue to expand this list as more people engage within and across this network at FSU. Our hope is that by visualizing the interconnectedness of different scholarly activities at FSU will facilitate the creation of new and better knowledge.³

If you are interested in starting a digital research project, but find this visualization overwhelming, please stop by the Percolator: our “Digital Scholarship Support Group”, every Wednesday from 3-5 on the lower level of Strozier in the Technology and Digital Scholarship suite. The Percolator is an informal space to workshop project proposals, explore new tools, and discuss issues in the field of digital scholarship.

FSU Libraries’ newly formed Office of Digital Research and Scholarship (DRS) provides support, infrastructure and consulting for technology-focused research projects in the areas of digital humanities, academic/digital publishing, data management, and more. We are focused on connecting people to people, building collaborative research partnerships across campus, and providing platforms for new forms of scholarship. Visit for more information.


¹ You can find the .csv files for this document here.

² I used a layout based on the “Fruchterman Reingold” algorithm, if you are looking to generate a graph like this one.

³ Are you doing digital work at FSU and not yet on our list? Add yourself here!


Government Documents @FSU Libraries #lovemyFDL

Co-authored by Jaime Witman

February has been designated by The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) as Love My Federal Depository Library month. But what is a Federal Depository Library (FDL), what does it have to do with FSU, and why should we love it? These are all great questions, so let’s get started!

A Federal Depository Library is a library that provides free, equitable access to U.S. government publications to the public. The Federal Depository Library Program or FDLP was created by Congress to ensure that all Americans have access to published government information. The FSU Libraries became a member of FDLP in 1941. This means that at FSU Libraries, government information and documents can be accessed by students, faculty, and local and visiting patrons for free.
So what is a “government document”? 44 U.S. Code § 1901 defines a government publication as “informational matter which is published as an individual document at Government expense, or as required by law” (Pub. L. 90–620, Oct. 22, 1968, 82 Stat. 1283). Simply, government documents are publications produced by the different agencies of government. These can be bills and statutes, the U.S. budget, presidential materials, congressional documents, judicial publications (court opinions and independent counsel investigations), executive agency publications, regulations, and much more.


What’s Next: Tutorials and Connected Learning


(Photo Courtesy of San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)

Here in the Distance Services Unit of Florida State University Libraries, we scan the environment for current trends in academic libraries and digital scholarship in order to develop pilot programs and services for the future of the library. In other words, we are always asking, “What’s Next?”. This will be an ongoing series that examines topics related to emerging trends and technologies in libraries. This week we will be discussing the idea of connected learning and how that applies to the future of academic libraries.

Connected Learning is a learning model developed by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative which connects learners to peers all around the world through social networks, is interest-driven according to the learner’s need. Connected Learning is interactive, and the potential has been realized through the advent of interactive technologies, from cloud computing to mobile devices, to the internet of things, to digital assistantship. It is modular by nature, so it can be appropriated for a variety of users and interests. It states that learning is most effective when it engages the information-seeker with information that is relevant to their interests.