Scholars Commons

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.

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The 2014 Election and the power of open data!

I spend a considerable portion of my time convincing researchers of the benefits associated with publishing their data online in open repositories. Bringing up things like reproducibility of research and the idea of others using their original data sets to advance scholarship in their field or another are my usual selling points. Academics produce vast amounts of data that has value well beyond the scope of their original project. That being said, government agencies produce endless amounts of data and information as they conduct their day to day business. There are obvious products that have mounds of useful information in them, like the U.S. Census or the American Community Survey. Governments rely on information in all sorts of formats to perform countless tasks on a day to day basis. For example, many local governments rely on spatial data of their infrastructure (roads, sewers, power lines) to set maintenance schedules or to select an ideal space for new residential development.

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The Contested Future of the Book, Part 1

*This post is from Abby Scheel, one of our three humanities librarians.

A couple weeks ago I was fortunate enough to represent FSU Libraries at two meetings near Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.  Both meetings dealt in different ways with one of the most contested issues for academic libraries and scholars: the scholarly monograph.  There is so much to share from both meetings that I’m going to break this report-back into two parts.  Today is the Association of Research Libraries Fall Forum: Wanted Dead or Alive – The Scholarly Monograph.

The ARL Fall Forum addressed the future of the book directly and with maximum controversy (see title above). Based on a title like that you might think this is yet another session extolling the demise of the book and the dawn of the age of all things digital. Yes and no. The scholarly monograph is still king in humanities disciplines because of its connection with promotion and tenure. But it’s time to stop privileging the monograph published in print by an academic press over other means of disseminating the “long-form argument.” How to and why do this? What are the ramifications of this move? This was what the presenters all addressed during the daylong forum that included points of view from all sides of the issue, from faculty, librarians, and publishers in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Here are a few of the highlights of the day in my own words: (more…)

Introducing our Newest Librarians

Continuing the series, here are two more of our new librarians.

Renaine Julian – Data Research Librarian

Hi folks. My name is Renaine and I’m the Data Research Librarian at FSU. I’m a three time FSU alum and I couldn’t be happier to be back on campus! Before starting my current position, I worked for the Libraries for about five years as a student worker and, later, as a staff member before heading over to the state-wide library consortium, The Florida Virtual Campus.

The Data Research Librarian is a new position and I’m responsible for creating a new suite of services for students and faculty related to quantitative data as well as the management of research data. That being said, I can help you find data as well as figure out what to do with it once you have your hands on something useful. If you’re creating large datasets for your research, you’ll need a plan for managing that information and, in many cases, making it available to others. I’m working with other folks in the Libraries and around campus to develop data management consulting services to assist you in planning to keep your research intact, findable and usable.

I’m also the subject specialist for Economics, Geography, and Urban and Regional Planning. My research interests include: data management, data visualization, open data, emerging technologies and digital libraries. I work in the Scholars Commons which is located in Strozier’s basement. Please come by and say hello.

Contact Renaine – rjulian at fsu.edu

[Editors note – photo coming soon! That’s how new Stacey is!]

Hello! My name is Stacey Mantooth and I am a new addition to the library staff at Dirac Science Library. Before joining Florida State University, I earned my MSLS at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and worked at the EPA Library at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. While I’ve lived in several states around the Southeast and Midwest, this is my first time living in Florida, and I’m excited to see what Tallahassee has to offer.

As the liaison to the Chemistry and Biochemistry and Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science departments, I help students and faculty with research activities like finding journal articles, writing literature reviews, patent searching, or managing data. I also help make decisions about what materials the Libraries buy or keep for these subjects. In addition to my regular library and liaison work, I’m interested in doing research on the information needs of STEM faculty and students on campus. Studying which information researchers need, knowing how they go about getting it, and understanding how they view the research process could lead to improved University services and greater STEM success.

Contact Stacey – smantooth at fsu.edu

What is a Census Research Data Center and Why Should You Care?

This semester, FSU became the newest consortial member of Atlanta’s Census Research Data Center. Funded primarily by the College of Social Sciences and the Office of Research, the Florida State community can now use Census micro-data without paying lab fees, which can range upwards of $15,000 per project.  There are currently 18 Census Research Data Centers in the United States, and outside of North Carolina’s Research Triangle the only one located in the southeastern United States is The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

So, what is a Census Research Data Center? The Center for Economic Studies defines Census Research Data Centers (RDCs) as U.S. Census Bureau facilities, staffed by a Census Bureau employee, which meet all physical and computer security requirements for access to restricted–use data. At RDCs, qualified researchers with approved projects receive restricted access to selected non–public Census Bureau data files.

Where do college graduates work? Visualization based on 2012 Census data.

Where do college graduates work? Visualization based on 2012 Census data.

To understand the true value of doing research with non-public data from the RDC, it’s important to note the difference between micro data and macro data, which is often referred to as aggregate data. When most of us use datasets for research or analysis, we’re looking at summary figures. For example, if you extract Census data for analysis, you’re typically looking at some sort of summary or aggregation for a specific geographic unit. These geographic units range from state, county, city as well as much smaller units such as census tracts and block groups. Regardless of unit of analysis, the data itself is a summarization of individual survey responses for participants in that specific area.

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Grad Student Central

Dear Grad students,

The library has just launched a homepage designed just for you! “Grad Student Central” features quick links tailored to all your research and instructional needs. You’ll find information about theses and dissertations, searching the UBorrow catalog, requesting materials via inter-library loan, targeted workshops, and more. You can also learn about the Scholars Commons department, which is devoted to providing research support for faculty and grad students. Specific tabs on the page connect you with details for teaching assistants, research support, technology, and publishing your research.

The spotlight feature on the right-hand side of the page will highlight some of the resources available through FSU Libraries. Is there an aspect of the library you would like to know more about? Suggestions are welcome to help us fill that spotlight space!

GS1

Need to view your account? The My Account link is now located in the top right-hand corner of the page, alongside a link to OneSearch, our new tool that searches all library resources at once. (more…)