Author: meaganbonnell

Data Discovery Webinar Series

Join FSU Libraries this semester for a Zoom webinar series and learn about popular datasets and databases. 

Finding and Accessing Data Using ICPSR 
Date: Monday, September 9 
Time: 3 pm 
Location: Zoom 
The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is a data repository hosted by the University of Michigan that maintains and provides access to a vast archive of social science and interdisciplinary data for research and instruction. 

Finding and Accessing Data Using Data.Gov 
Date: Monday, September 23 
Time: 3 pm 
Location: Zoom 
Data.gov aims to improve public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. The site is a repository for federal, state, local, and tribal government information, made available to the public. 

General Social Survey 
Date: Friday, September 27 
Time: 1 pm 
Location: Zoom  
Since 1972, the General Social Survey (GSS) has been monitoring societal change and studying the growing complexity of American society using comprehensive surveys measuring attitudes and behaviors. 

Introduction to Census Data and American FactFinder 
Date: Monday, October 14 
Time: 3 pm 
 Location: Zoom
The U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder is the main extraction tool for Census Bureau data and is a key resource for data users. 

Cambridge Structural Database: In Celebration of National Chemistry Week! 
Date: Thursday, October 24 
Time: 1 pm 
Location: Zoom
Established in 1965, the CSD is the world’s repository for small-molecule organic and metal-organic crystal structures. Containing over one million structures from x-ray and neutron diffraction analyses, this unique database of accurate 3D structures has become an essential resource to scientists around the world. 

Exploring Environmental Spatial Data: In Celebration of Geography Week and GIS Day! 
Date: Wednesday, November 13 
Time: 3 pm 
Location: Zoom
This webinar will provide an overview of key sources for finding spatial data pertaining to the environment and environmental science. Learn to discover and download a variety of spatial datasets from sources such as the EPA’s Environmental Dataset Gateway, the Florida Geographic Data Library, and Esri Open Data. 

Pop Lit Pride

In honor of Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, we are highlighting some of the books written by or about LGBTQIA+ people featured in the FSU Libraries’ Popular Literature collection. Some of these are newly added to the collection and many were purchased with funds from an FSU President’s Diversity and Inclusion mini-grant. Books are continually being added to the collection.

New Pop Lit Books

FSU Libraries’ Popular Literature committee was fortunate to have earned funding to expand their Pop Lit collection through an FSU President’s Diversity and Inclusion mini-grant. This grant allows the committee to strengthen the collection with both fiction and nonfiction books from and about underrepresented groups. Books that are diverse and inclusive have been shown to help improve empathy for their readers.

The first order from the Diversity and Inclusion mini-grant have started to arrive!!! Stop by the main floor of Strozier to check out the new selections.

Preserving VHS Collections @ FSU Libraries Through the Academic Libraries Video Trust

By David Rodriguez

In the era of streaming services like Kanopy and Netflix becoming the norm for how people access video content, it’s easy to forget just how much material is still confined to legacy AV formats. VHS is one such format–one that has played a huge role in academic and public library collections for over 40 years. First introduced in 1976, VHS cassettes were to become the internationally adopted standard for home-video exhibition and recording (but not without a well-known “format war” with the Betamax system). Eventually, the introduction and dominance of digital formats like DVD and Blu-Ray in late 1990s and early 2000s swept the cassette market into relative obsolescence. However, because of the long legacy of VHS and the residual demand for VCR technology, playback equipment was still manufactured until 2016. In the many years that VHS stood as the preeminent home-video format, libraries across the world acquired millions of cassettes spanning educational programs, documentaries, and feature films. They have become a major component of library collections that serve a wide variety of patron needs.

VHS Collections in the basement of Strozier Library.

In considering how to contextualize and prioritize preservation of these collections within the Library, it’s helpful to acknowledge that the stewardship of non-print resources comes with its own unique set of challenges. While the inks and pigments on paper and in books can remain readable by the naked human eye for hundreds if not thousands of years, magnetic media formats like VHS are both inscrutable without technological mediation and subject to a much, much shorter shelf life. How these media are stored, their frequency of use, and the condition of the equipment they have been run through all bear heavily on how long they will remain usable. But even liberal estimates put most library VHS collections in a rather urgent position. With the end of VCR manufacturing and the rate of physical decay inherent to the format, libraries need to act now if they want to ensure these collections are not lost to decomposition and technological obsolescence.


Tapes, tapes, and more tapes covering nearly every subject & discipline.

So what are the available options for libraries seeking to tackle this problem? In the United States, libraries and archives are granted a number of useful rights under Section 108 of the Copyright Act. The statute allows such institutions to create “preservation copies” of collection materials which have become obsolete and for which there is no new, non-obsolete replacement available (for example, a given VHS title has not been re-released on DVD, Blu-Ray, or other digital format). In contemporary practice, preservation copies are created by digitizing the material and migrating the content to a new carrier like a DVD or into digital storage. Of course, this is easier said than done, and this step often prohibits many organizations from capitalizing on the privileges granted by Section 108 due to technological, financial, or other resource limitations. Thankfully, FSU Libraries has done well in retaining and maintaining a good deal of its legacy media technology and is now in the process of systematically reviewing, replacing, and, when appropriate, creating preservation copies of its nearly 4,000 holdings on VHS.

The Library’s humble media lab for digitizing VHS and few other formats.

The work involved is daunting, complex, and requires collaboration across several library divisions. Externally, we are very excited to have joined the Academic Libraries Video Trust (ALVT), a new initiative launched in 2018 by the National Media Market. ALVT provides member organizations with a shared cloud-storage repository and clearinghouse for digitized content created under Section 108. Additionally, it allows FSU to make its collections part of broader efforts to preserve the wealth of magnetic media materials held in libraries and archives all over the country by allowing other member libraries access to its digitized materials. This “sharing” of Section 108-compliant holdings is enormously beneficial insofar as de-duplicating digitization efforts across institutions. In joining ALVT, the Library is greatly increasing the impact and value of its collections while ensuring they will remain accessible to future students, faculty, and researchers. We hope to provide updates and more detailed technical and legal insights as the project progresses in the hopes of helping others interested in these kinds of initiatives.

Let the magic begin!

FSU Libraries’ Celebrates Newly-Tenured Faculty

On April 22, 2019, newly-tenured FSU faculty celebrated their accomplishments during a reception at the President’s house. Each year, FSU Libraries honor the achievements of newly-tenured faculty by selecting an item for the collection in their name. These items are on display the celebration event, with a paragraph describing why each particular item was selected and its significance.

To view the list of faculty and their explanation of the books or materials they hand-picked to be purchased and book plated in their honor, click here.

Open Video Resources – A Few Alternatives to Kanopy and Swank

By Dave Rodriguez

FSU Libraries currently subscribes to a wide variety of streaming video services and databases. Some of these, such as Swank and Kanopy, provide users access to commercial feature films for scholarly analysis, research, and teaching purposes. Others, like Films on Demand, are treasure troves of documentary content–although there’s some interesting feature film collections in there as well!

In addition to these valuable, paid resources, there are a number of open video collections containing narrative, documentary, ethnographic, and historically significant moving-image resources that can and should be utilized by those working in higher education and promoted by the Library. Below is a list with links and collection highlights from five such collections.

More information on how to access audio-visual content can be found in the Film LibGuide. Direct any questions about these or other online media resources to Shelly Schmucker, Electronic Resources Librarian (shelly.schmucker@fsu.edu), and Dave Rodriguez, Resident/Media Librarian (dwrodriguez@fsu.edu).

  1. Public Domain Movies (http://publicdomainmovie.net/)
    • A consolidated site of feature films, shorts, and cartoons that have fallen into the public domain either by virtue of being created before 1924 or the copyright having lapsed for some other reason.
    • Collection Highlights:
    • Search Note: Unfortunately, this site lacks an internal search feature. However, you can effectively search the collection via Google by using the following search command: site:http://publicdomainmovie.net/ “insert movie title or other search criteria between quotation marks”
  2. Snagfilms (http://www.snagfilms.com/)
    • A streaming platform with over 2,000 independent feature films and documentaries. Looks and runs like Netflix but some content contains ads at the beginning of playback.
    • Collection Highlights:
      • Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty and Pierce Rafferty’s documentary indictment of the nuclear age The Atomic Cafe (1982)
      • Lucy Walker’s exploration of Amish youthful transgression The Devil’s Playground (2002)
  3. Library of Congress National Screening Room (https://www.loc.gov/collections/national-screening-room/)
    • An initiative by LoC to make its moving-image collections accessible for streaming and download. Wide variety of titles ranging from silent films by Thomas Edison and D.W. Griffith to feature films and shorts from the 1940s and 50s
    • Collection Highlights:
      • Ida Lupino’s taut, masterfully crafted noir The Hitchhiker (1953)
      • Oscar Micheaux’s landmark work of African American silent cinema Within Our Gates (1919)
  4. Internet Archive’s Moving Image Archives (https://archive.org/details/movies)
    • An old standard at this point but full of great material for those willing to do some digging.
    • Collection Highlight:
      • The Prelinger Collection – Perhaps the the world’s most comprehensive collection of educational, ephemeral, propaganda, and industrial films ever assembled. A crucial repository for studying the culture of the 20th century.
  5. Florida Memory (https://www.floridamemory.com/video)
    • The State’s extensive catalog of moving-image materials offers a vivid snapshot of Florida’s history.
    • Collection Highlights:
      • The Adventures of X-14 (ca. 1963) – A promotional tourist film produced by the FL Development Commission and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce about an alien visitor (disguised as a kitten!) to Florida’s Gulf Coast
      • Julio 26 (1960) – A TV documentary produced by a local Miami news channel chronicling the first six months and 26 days of Fidel Castro’s leadership in Cuba.

Why and How Libraries Should Use Student Data: Two Perspectives

Why (and How) libraries should use student data to measure the relationship between library services, spaces, etc., on student outcomes.

In this conversation, two librarians at FSU share their perspectives and experiences on student data. Why should we use student data? Why shouldn’t we use student data? Below, read Adam Beauchamp and Kirsten Kinsley’s take on student data.


By Adam Beauchamp, Humanities Librarian

“How” should libraries use student data to measure the relationship between library services, spaces, etc., on student outcomes?

In short, very carefully. 

There are two questions, one methodological and one ethical, that I ask myself when considering the use of student data in library assessment. First, do these data actually measure the outcome I want to assess? Second, does the potential benefit to students from using data this way offset the potential harm to students’ privacy or intellectual freedom? 

Libraries collect a lot of transactional data in the course of normal operations, and it is tempting to use these data to demonstrate the library’s value. But the mistake I see often in the library literature is that librarians conflate a student’s simple use of the library with the broadest (and most flawed) measure of student learning: GPA. A high GPA may be indicative of a student who does well in general on tests and class assignments, but GPA doesn’t tell you what or how a student has learned. 

Similarly, counts of library transactions like checking out a book, attending a workshop, clicking on an electronic journal article, or passing through library turnstiles do not tell you how, or even if, those transactions resulted in student learning. In the first example, did our student read the book, fully understand its thesis, and successfully incorporate those ideas into her own thinking and writing? Did she even select an appropriate book for the assignment in the first place? None of these questions are answered by circulation statistics. Asked another way, if learning did not take place in this scenario, is it the fault of the library? If the library cannot be held liable for the student who checks out a book and doesn’t learn, can the library take credit for the same transaction leading to a positive outcome without justifying how?

If library transactional data alone are insufficient measures of student learning, one response is to collect more, better student data. How can we know if the student above learned from checking out a book? Perhaps if we had her entire search history and records of every other book and journal article she had looked at, we could then hypothesize about whether or not she had deployed a logical search strategy and had selected the “right” book for the assignment. But now we have a serious ethical problem. Is it appropriate for libraries to conduct this kind of surveillance of our users? If the student finds out we are scrutinizing her every keyword and mouse click, would she think twice about searching for or reading materials on certain subjects? Are we sharing these data with her professor, who might deduct points for “irrelevant” searches or checking out the “wrong” books? Have we gotten any closer to discovering how the student is or isn’t learning such that we could alter our practices to benefit her and other students?  

In the ALA Code of Ethics we are called to offer the highest quality service, but we cannot let pursuit of that value cause us to trample on our equally important mission to support intellectual freedom, fight censorship (including self-censorship), and protect library users’ right to privacy and confidentiality. Therefore, we must think very carefully before using student data in an effort to connect library use in all its forms to student learning outcomes. We must be sure that such use of student data is a valid measure of the outcome we wish to assess, and that the potential benefits to students outweighs the potential harms to students’ privacy and intellectual freedom at the center of our professional ethics.


By Kirsten Kinsley, Assessment Librarian

My position is for purposes of modeling Critical Thinking and Healthy Discussion–the value of the month and to start the conversation on big data and student privacy:

An example of the data we collect on students:

We collect data on a number of library services, outreach, spaces, and resources/collections as demonstrated by the data inventory completed in the fall. One of the datasets assessment collects is card swipe data for Dirac and Strozier.  From this data we can determine who uses the library, how frequently, and for how long. The data includes student EMPLIDS, a nine digit code identifier that serves to connect individual student user card swipes with the Office of Institutional Research Business Intelligence (BI) data warehouse.  The BI system is used to pull any number of variables about each student who enters the library. Some of the student variables include: major, year of study or status, semester or overall GPA, retention, class load, whether they are an athlete, a part of Greek Life, or a veteran, etc. We pull demographic variables such as age, sex, race, and pre-college variables, such high school GPA, SAT/ACT scores and Pell grant recipients.

We include all these variables about individual students and examine them in the aggregate because theories and research in higher education conclude that a lot goes into what makes a student successful in college and there are many ways to measure that.  Some point to pre-college variables, such as SAT/ACT scores, as factors that contribute to success. Other studies have shown that collegiate engagement in programs like CARE, living-learning communities, athletics or studying abroad play a role in student success. Using statistics, we can also tease out the relationship between library usage and student success.

In order to be thorough, analysis includes as many factors as we can by holding some variables constant (such as high school GPA, which can have a hidden effect on student library usage) while measuring whether something like first year retention rates may be affected by library usage.  We do this knowing that we cannot account for all variables, such as personal motivation.

You might ask, “How do we know that it is not something about a student’s good study habits and not in using the library space itself that makes them successful?”  In other words, good students self-select to go to the library. This is self-selection bias and for this we apply statistical techniques like precision matching to mitigate it. One way to do that is by creating a comparison group by matching each library user’s demographics and characteristics with a non-library user. For example: A student who visits the library physical space is matched with a non-library using student on characteristics like ethnicity, age, year of study, major, high school GPA, SAT score, etc.  What is being compared is the differences of frequency of library visits between them and to estimate the effects it has on first year retention rates. From this a comparison group of library users with a matched group of non-library users is created. We can apply this technique to measure whether the library user group has a statistically significant higher semester-to-semester retention rate.

All the student data that we collect are anonymized and analyzed in the aggregate.  We do not want to know about a particular students’ library participation, but we do want to know what trends there are that relate to library usage in general.  Aside from library spaces, we know that the library provides many important services, configurations of spaces, and resources that help our users. So measuring the impact of as many library variables together as we can will build our case that the library makes a difference. Since this process involves a lot of datasets, we need a secure and safe data warehouse to store it.

Why should we use all that student data do this?: To show that libraries play a role in student success.

To compete for campus funding:

If we don’t hold ourselves accountable and demonstrate our value and impact on student, faculty, and staff success, who can we count on to advocate for us on campus? Others campus divisions and stakeholders , such as the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) and the Division of Student Affairs are and will be vying for dollars by showing evidence of their contributions. [Look at Goal IV & V of the Strategic Plan: Student Success and the focus of those Goals includes student advising initiatives]. FSU’s operating budget includes E&G Funds (44.36%) and the Libraries share a portion the E&G budget with other campus stakeholders. Of those funds, 11.80% comes from tuition and fees, and the remaining 32.56%  percent comes from state support.

Statewide

The Board of Governors (BOG) oversees the distribution of some large sources of funding: Preeminence funding,  Performance-based funding, and National Ranking Enhancements that are distributed to the eleven schools in the State University System (SUS). At FSU, “performance funding currently accounts for approximately 22% of all Education & General (E&G) dollars, the principal source of university operating funds” (Daly PowerPoint 2019) and is based on metrics. Metrics that libraries can contribute to include: four year graduation rate, academic progress rate (2nd year retention with GPA above 2.0), and others. Another source of income that is getting more and more competitive is Preeminence funding. Of the $20 million recurring funds for the SUS–FSU’s portion is $6.1 million.

Nationally:

ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Initiative (2010) was strongly supported with IMLS grant funding projects and programming and continues to be a driving force for the impetus to conduct this research that demonstrates Value and Impact. Currently, they offer grants for up to $3000 for libraries who want to conduct research to demonstrate value.

While funding is not the only reason we should measure our impact on student success, it is clearly a compelling reason.

So, how do we measure the Libraries’ impact on student success, while also honoring our values?

  1. Foster partnerships: By partnering with other campus colleges and departments as we have successfully done in the past and by utilizing high standards of research practice and methodologies, we raise awareness across campus that the library makes a difference in the lives of students, faculty, and staff.  
  2. Adhering to research standards: We ask questions and let the data speak, not the other way around as in data trolling or dredging. For quantitative research we frame our questions supported with theories tested in higher education [for example, for students we could use Astin’s Theory of Student Involvement (1984) or Tinto’s Institutional Departure Model (1975, 1993)]. We don’t give the data to third parties. We do it to show them the value of students’ tuition or tax dollars. We can do all this while still honoring our professional values (e.g., ALA Code of Ethics),
  3. Model good data stewardship: We can be a role model for not only how we adhere to good research practice, but by being transparent to library users that we collect their information to improve their services, spaces, and collections in the aggregate. We adhere to stringent privacy considerations and make sure we are in alignment with campus data governance. We are good data stewards by maintaining high standards of data management practices and protocols–such as how we store, secure, and de-identify data. We do this using the same research standards and protocols of the university.  We develop a privacy statement and a way for users to opt out of library research should they want to.

Summary

We need to be proactive about demonstrating impact and value to the institution and advocate to stakeholders our value.  Aside from competition for campus funds, we need to hold ourselves accountable to measure that what we do matters. If any part of this institution is capable of measuring impact and value with care and consideration of its users, it is the Libraries. Our values and concerns will keep us balanced between contributing evidence-based data and the practices of privacy, and keeping what we measure within the bounds of reason. Let’s not leave it up to the vendors to decide the granularity of data we seek, but let us ask the questions, within the bounds of our values, and conduct sound research practice in good faith knowing that there will never be data that give us certainty and definitive answers, only a compass to point the way.

Note: References provided for my assertions provided upon request.

FLVC Open Educational Resources Summit

By Mallary Rawls 

Last week I was able to attend the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) Open Educational Resources (OER) Summit in Orlando, FL. I was the only one from FSU Libraries who was able to attend, but I had a wonderful experience learning more about how to implement OER at FSU. 

One of the surprising things at the summit was the amount of faculty in attendance. There were also librarians in attendance, as well as administrators. Having faculty show up and learn more about the what, why, and how of OER is very important. Librarians have been one of the leading forces behind the push for OER and it’s nice to see the sharing of responsibility with faculty. Faculty play a huge role in deciding  what’s used in the classroom, so knowing that we’re sharing this space is a step in the right direction.  

The summit began on Wednesday February 27thand opened with remarks from Dr. John Opper, FLVC Executive Director. He welcomed Una Daly, Director of the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) that’s a division of the global Open Education Consortium. Her opening speech was about asking ourselves as educators, librarians, administrators “why” we’re choosing to learn or implement OER and “what” we’re doing. Daly spent a lot of time talking about Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) courses and programs, open pedagogy, and using instructional designers to help faculty plan their courses around OER. This is something that is open to anyone teaching at FSU. Our OER Task Force works with the Center for the Advancement of Teaching(CAT) and Fabrizio Fornara, Assistant Director of CAT recently joined our OER Task Force. 

After Daly’s opening keynote speech, we were able to move into different rooms depending on the subject. The rooms were split into four groups: Mathematics, Writing & Composition, Humanities, and Business. I went with the humanities group where Kim Molinaro, a psychology professor at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, FL spoke about how she had worked extremely hard to implement OER in all of her psychology courses. Next we heard how Dr. Bruce Wilson, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida and James Paradiso, an instructional designer and program coordinator for textbook affordability at UCF worked together to also flip all of Dr. Wilson’s classes to use only OER. Attendees had their questions answered and I was able to meet a great group of librarians from University of Florida, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, and Tallahassee Community College. There was a lunch & learn that afternoon where Ethan Senack from Creative Commons, USA gave a presentation on the basics of creative commons (CC) licensing, the difference between CC and copyright, and how different licensing interact with OER. 

Thursday, February 28thwas the second and last day of the summit and Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education at SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) was the keynote speaker. Allen gave a great speech on her experience with OER and how she came to know what it is and how it has changed over the last decade. Hearing about her experiences and seeing how OER and the terminology has changed over time meant a lot to me. It really helped me put things into perspective and think of ways to talk to other librarians and faculty about how to approach OER. 

We know change can be scary, but it happens. Seeing the toll of the rising and high costs of getting an education takes on students, parents, and other stakeholders is a reason why we should be implementing OER. Attending this summit has given me a lot to think about and a lot to work on, but I do think movement is achievable. FSU Libraries has supported a lot of endeavors and we’re fortunate because not all universities encounter the same support and encouragement, but we have so much more work to do. 

LibQUAL 2018 – Thanks for Participating

By Kirsten Kinsley

In early November 2018, the FSU Libraries administered the LibQUAL survey.  The LibQUAL survey, conducted every three years, is a measure of library service quality in areas of service, library as place, resources, and their ease of access. Faculty, undergraduates, graduate students, and staff all have the opportunity to participate. Respondents were asked to list the library they use most often. Users from a variety of libraries both on and off the main campus responded to the survey (including users of Strozier, Dirac, Engineering, Panama City Branch, Law, Medicine, Music, and online libraries). We appreciate your participation as we know with our library users’ busy schedules that it is hard to stop and take the time out to fill out a survey.  

We received 711 respondents: 429 undergraduates, 155 graduate students, 86 faculty, and 35 staff. We learned that the libraries met undergraduate students needs in service and information areas, but that they have some expectations for the library as place that is important for us to listen to as we move forward with our future strategies and goals for enhancing library space. Things like a quiet study space for individual activities and spaces conducive to study and learning are important to undergraduates.

According to the graduate students who responded, having a library that provides them access to electronic resources accessible from their home or office and a website that allows them to locate information on their own are two high expectations. They also expect the library to be a getaway for study, learning, and research. Graduate students also perceive that there is a gap between their current experience and their expectation for service in the areas of making information easily accessible for independent use and making sure the libraries provide the print and/or electronic journal collections they need for their work.

The faculty who took the survey had some similar needs to the graduate students in the areas of resource access. They, too, want a website enabling them to locate information on their own and electronic resources accessible from their home or office. They would also like dependability in handling users’ service problems. Most of the emphasis from faculty is on access to materials they need and the ability to get to those resources independently or with having dependable staff to help them. There is some work to do in these areas to meet the high standards of quality our faculty at a R1: Research University (highest research activity) have come to expect from their campus Libraries.

Pictured below are three of the four LibQual participant winners of a Mobile Power Bank! Thank you!

Again, thank you to all of you who took the time to fill out the survey. We are always looking for ways to improve and we hope we can continue to work to meet the expectations of faculty and students. We will share with you how we will better meet those expectations as we go forward.