The Celebration of Purim

This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.

Hamentashen, a traditional Purim sweet (CC image by Rebecca Slegel)
Hamantaschen, a traditional Purim sweet (CC image by Rebecca Slegel)

The observation of Purim begins the evening of February 25th

Purim is a holiday that represents a tangible victory over an enemy. Many things are done to commemorate this victory. The Book of Esther is read, people go around in costume to show their happiness, a festive meal is eaten, and charity is given to help those who otherwise couldn’t celebrate this occasion. People give out packages of food to friends (usually in the form of a dessert) to celebrate camaraderie.

For more on the history and celebration of this holiday, see “Who is that masked man?” Happy Purim!

Contributed by: Edward Shabes, Library Assistant, Midtown

Celebrating Faculty Publications in a New Way

Like so many events in 2020, this year the Faculty Publications event is virtual. Touro College Libraries created an asynchronous event webpage on our institutional repository, Touro Scholar, which features video messages from President Kadish and senior leadership. The webpage also includes the 2019 Faculty Publications Book, and a place for visitors to leave comments about their scholarship or scholarly works in general. Go to https://touroscholar.touro.edu/celebration

This annual event is hosted by the Touro College Libraries and is usually a warm, in-person reception to honor Touro College & University System faculty and staff whose creative and scholarly works are published. The event is an opportunity to enjoy the Faculty Publications Book, which is a bibliography of the previous calendar year’s publications, as well as a time to share research interests and projects. We look forward to resuming this event in-person in 2021, and encourage the TCUS community to utilize the Libraries’ staff and resources in their pedagogy and scholarship.

This post was contributed by Tim Valente, Scholarly Communications Librarian

ProQuest Research Companion

ProQuest Research Companion supports information literacy, writing, and research skills instruction, providing a companion to instruction sessions and allowing librarians and instructors to focus on teaching more complex research and writing principles.

A screenshot from ProQuest Research Companion

Developed by writing instructors and librarians, ProQuest Research Companion is comprised of ten learning modules and five interactive tools—all designed to automate the key elements of the research process.

Once you sign in with your TouroOne credentials, you’ll find videos, tools, and recommended resources to help you “Find Information,” “Evaluate Information,” and “Use Information.” The modules start by sharing how you can begin your research project and select a topic and progress through the steps to reflecting on your project and how you can improve.

Whether you are an experienced researcher or just starting your academic journey, ProQuest Research Companion can be a helpful tool.

Celebrating the Lunar New Year

This post was originally published on February 8, 2016 and has been updated

Chinese New Year celebrations in San Francisco (photo by Daniel Dionne)

Our enthusiasm for opportunities to start fresh has frequently made its way onto the blog, from the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), to the civil New Year, to the start of a new semester.

This week marks another calendrical reset: the Lunar New Year. Commonly known as the Chinese New Year for its largest group of celebrants, it’s the start of a calendar determined in part by the phases of the moon, rather than the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. Because of this, the civil date of the holiday varies from late January to mid-February.

According to former Touro Library Cataloger, Liping Wang, observations of the holiday often include cleaning the home, families gathering for a home-cooked meal on New Year’s Eve, fireworks, and “luck money” given from the older generations to the younger in red envelopes. In New York, you can normally participate in parades and other celebrations held in Chinatown, in Manhattan, and in Flushing, Queens. NYC public schools recognize the Lunar New Year as an official holiday, meaning no school for students. Alas, Touro classes are all still in session, but we wish you all a happy Lunar New Year!

What do students have to say about OER?

Open educational resources (OER) are “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.”

The NYSCAS Business & Accounting department has long been a champion of OER (we highlighted Professor Angelo DeCandia as a Textbook Hero on this blog in July). At the end of the fall 2020 semester, the chair of the department, Dr. Sabra Brock’s students shared their feedback on their OER textbooks with us — and they had a lot to say.

After reading what students have to say, are you interested in using OER in your courses? Contact the Libraries to learn more about how you can save your students money, keep them enrolled, and help them succeed!

You’re invited…to our spring webinars!

The Touro College Libraries are excited to share the schedule of webinars our staff are offering this spring. From Pubmed to peer review, these sessions will offer Touro faculty and graduate students the opportunity to learn new tools and expand their skills. We hope you can join us!

Please click on the title of a webinar for more information and to register via Zoom. Note: times listed are in EST.

Advanced Pubmed: Taking Your Search to the Next Level (NYMC)
Friday, January 29, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Accessing & Navigating Library Resources Remotely (TC)
Thursday, February 18, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Depositing Your Work in Touro Scholar (TC)
Thursday, March 4, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Conducting a Systematic Review (NYMC)
Tuesday, March 9, 2021 – 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Creating a Research Web Presence: Tools for Research Profiles and Websites (TC)
Thursday, April 22, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Peer Review and Open Peer Review (TC)
Thursday, May 13, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Unpaywall your published article via Touro Scholar (TC)
Thursday, May 27, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Introduction to Grant Searching for Biomedical, Life Sciences and Public Health Research (NYMC)
Thursday, June 3, 2021 – 4:00pm – 5:00pm

These webinars will be recorded and shared on our Recorded Webinars LibGuide, where you can also find past webinars. If you have any questions about these webinars or topics to recommend, please email sara.tabaei@touro.edu.

Teamwork works: How faculty and librarians can collaborate for student success

Working with your Touro librarians can increase the ways in which you can support your students. With the spring semester approaching, here are some tips to make the most of this relationship.

hands in the middle of a circle
Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com
Share

Share your assignments with your campus librarians, so we can be prepared with resources and tools to assist your students when they reach out to us. Ensure there is a copy of your assignment in Canvas, so your students can share it directly with a librarian if they need to.

Clarify Needs

Talk to your students about the support the libraries can provide and what other support is available on campus. For example, the libraries can assist with finding and citing sources for a research project, while the writing center can assist with structuring a paper and checking grammar.

Resources

The libraries have a lot of resources to offer you and your students. Send us a list of the materials you’d like to use so that we can research whether the libraries have access to those and find alternatives to those we don’t, so that your students won’t have any extra hurdles to jump through.

Sources and Citations

Be clear about the kinds of sources you would like your students to use, whether they are peer-reviewed articles or primary sources; these terms might vary by disciplines, so provide as much information as possible about what you are looking for. And, be kind about citation requirements: choose a popular style (like APA or MLA) instead of a very subject-specific one, and focus on helping students understand why citation is important.

Information Literacy

Students may be savvy Instagram or Twitter users, but just because they can utilize technology doesn’t mean they have a good understanding of the information they are consuming. Students often overestimate their information literacy skills, so it may be a good idea to work with a librarian to offer an information literacy session or incorporate library resources to support them in finding accurate information.

We would love to partner with you, because we want all students to be successful. Please contact your campus librarian to learn more about how we can work together in the coming year and beyond.

This post was adapted from “Faculty: Do This! Working with Your Academic Librarian for Student Success” by Joe Hardenbrook.

Increase, Track, and Diversify Your Reading in 2021

With a new year comes new reading goals! Do you set a specific number of books that you’d like to read before the year is up? Are you hoping to increase your number of books read? Do you have trouble accessing books easily? Are you looking to stray from your typical genres, discover new authors, and diversify your reading in 2021?

If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” here are some ideas to help you do all of that and more!

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com
Ways To Read More
Make It A Habit

Habits are routine behaviors that are performed almost involuntarily. If you make reading a regular practice, whether that be a chapter before you go to sleep at night, reading during your lunch break or listening to an audiobook whenever you’re doing tasks like driving, cleaning or cooking, soon it will turn into a habit that comes naturally.

Always Have A Book On You

One of the best ways to read more is to make sure that you always have a book with you. Lugging around physical books can get heavy and bothersome, but nowadays many of us have access to reading material right at our fingertips through our smartphones. From Audible or Libby, to the Kindle or NOOK apps, there are so many convenient ways to access books any time, any place.

Take Advantage Of Resources

Buying books can get expensive, but you don’t have to spend money on books to enjoy them! Give your wallet a break and instead utilize the many resources available to you. Make use of your library card privileges; download Libby, where you can read eBooks and listen to audiobooks from your public library, and search the Touro College Libraries catalog for academic eBooks.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com
Ways To Track Your Reading
Track & Connect Online

Take your tracking to the internet! Goodreads is a social cataloging website and app that provides readers with a place to review books, list books they have read and want to read, and interact with a community of fellow bookworms all over the world. It is free to make an account.

Start A Book Journal

In lieu of, or in addition to, tracking your reading online, a book journal is a fun way to log and personalize your reading experience. Record memorable quotes, jot down your thoughts and interpretations, and note important plot points or facts. Then, get creative and format everything in whatever way you see fit.

Keep A Simple List

Lists are perfect for not only tracking what you have read, but what you want to read as well. You can keep a physical list, or opt for a note-taking app like Apple Notes, Google Keep, or Microsoft OneNote.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com
Ways To Diversify Your Reading
Follow Reading Prompts

Are there certain genres you don’t read enough? Do you need help narrowing down your next read? Try following reading prompts! There are so many reading challenges out there that you can search for online, or you can create your own reading prompts and challenge yourself to read books that fall under those categories. Completing a reading challenge will not only give you a sense of accomplishment, it will also aid you in diversifying your reading choices.

Join A Subscription Service

Book subscription services are a great way to discover new books. Best of all, they’re conveniently delivered right to your door! Plus, there are so many different types of subscription services to choose from. Book of the Month is a paid service that gives subscribers a choice from five new releases from varying genres each month and provides subscribers with the opportunity to switch up their genres each month and discover new releases. Book subscription services like BlackLIT, CoachCrate, Coffee and a Classic, and The Wordy Traveler curate books to a specific genre, topic, or perspective. With these more focused services, you can pick something that perhaps isn’t so familiar to you and branch out that way!

Look Past The Big Prizes

When you think about major book awards, both the Nobel and the Pulitzer Prizes might come to mind, but there are many other book awards that celebrate different types of books and authors. Examples of alternative awards are: the Edgar Awards which celebrates mystery books; the Women’s Prize for Fiction which honors women writers; the Hugo Awards that celebrate science fiction and fantasy; the PEN Open Book Award that honors books published by authors of color; the Bram Stoker Award that celebrates the horror genre; the Lambda Literary Awards which celebrate LGBTQ books; and the Morris Award which honors young adult debut books.

This post was contributed by Kelly Tenny, Library Assistant, Bay Shore

PlumX: Who is talking about my research?

Plum Analytics, or  PlumX, belongs to the small but increasingly influential community of  altmetrics  data providers (one provider is confusingly named Altmetric). The term altmetrics (alternative metrics) was first introduced in 2010 by Jason Priem. Simply put, they are alternative research metrics because they supplement traditional bibliometrics. Traditional metrics include citation counts, journal impact factor, and an author’s H-index. These are often compiled months to years after research is published. PlumX metrics provide us with immediate details on the ways people interact with individual pieces of research in the online environment, whether that research output is a scholarly article or a podcast, a policy document, dataset, video, or one of more than 60 other formats. PlumX generates metrics via access to data providers like YouTube, Twitter, SSRN, Crossref and many others. These metrics are divided into five categories: usage, captures, mentions, citations, and social media

Usage

Usage helps us understand if users are downloading or reading the work. Touro Scholar reports download counts, or how many times people click download, for instance. When users land on a page or click a link to a page from a variety of sources, these also get counted as it’s likely the user is reading the abstract or at least is interested in the work itself.   

Captures 

Captures can be  leading indicators of citations, because if someone is saving the work via a citation manager or bookmark manager, they probably are going to use that work as a reference later on in their own work. 

Citations 

This is one of the most traditional bibliometrics, how many times a work is cited by another work. PlumX  gathers this metric from at least 15 citation metrics sources, including Dynamed Plus Topics, Scopus, Crossref, and PubMed. It’s important to remember that this metric says little about how the work is cited by another work (take a look at scite.ai to see an emerging example of citation analysis with machine learning). Still citation counts are fundamental to bibliometrics, and indexes of citations in law, medicine, and other fields are centuries old.  

Mentions

Mentions are meant to measure conversation around works, via blogs, comments, video streaming sites, and references in Wikipedia.   

Social Media

Social media includes sharing on Twitter and Facebook. It also includes Reddit upvotes, ratings on Amazon and likes on YouTube. For academic journal articles, Twitter is a popular platform to share new research. Share with a link to the research (DOI or publisher’s page URL) so that the post is picked up in metrics counts.  

Why is this important? 

Have you ever wondered how others are accessing or reading any of your academic artifacts? With these altmetrics you will be able to more immediately measure awareness and interest towards your academic work.  In a competitive research landscape, PlumX  offers metrics to support your research impact footprint, to give you new ways to uncover and tell the stories of your research.  

Increasingly, researchers, funders, and universities are using these data to understand and tell fuller stories about their scientific impact and investments.    

As a researcher and author, PlumX metrics can help you showcase the impact of your work to others both inside your institution (colleagues, deans, etc.) and outside (grant funders). Altmetrics can help in assessing an academic unit’s research impact and increase its visibility. As a program director, dean of a school, or research support staff member you can track research and demonstrate:  

  1. ROI of research money 
  2. rising stars among early career researchers 
  3. a more compelling narrative about research  
  4. where research is a good potential investment 
  5. the strengths of research at the institution 

Instead of a static list of publications, the PlumX metrics provide a live update of interaction with publications. Researchers are already using altmetrics to bolster their funding proposals in tools like the National Institutes for Health’s Biosketch.

How can I access altmetrics  about my research?  

Touro College & University System Libraries has recently integrated PlumX altmetrics into Touro Scholar, our institutional repository. After you have created an account, click on “Author’s Dashboard” and then on the sidebar, click on the PlumX  logo. That’s where you can find PlumX metrics aggregated for all items in the repository authored by you. For your research articles on publisher’s webpages, you can often find altmetrics on sidebars, whether from PlumX, Altmetric, or the publisher’s own data.

If you have a new publication, share the DOI or URL of the article via social media or blog post, and consider depositing your article in Touro Scholar so more readers worldwide can access it.

Please contact us if you need any help with PlumX, altmetrics, bibliometrics or Touro Scholar:

Sara Tabaei: sara.tabaei@touro.edu
Tim Valente: timothy.valente@touro.edu

Caution  

We just want to remind you that  altmetrics  do not replace traditional bibliometrics. Instead, they complement them and show some insights that were previously unmeasured. Like most metrics, there are both legitimate and unscrupulous methods of “boosting” numbers. Researchers should be aware of the ethics surrounding research and authorship by consulting the TCUS academic integrity policy, the norms of their relevant field, and the recommendations of publishers and working groups like the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and others.   

This post was contributed by Tim Valente, Scholarly Communications Librarian, and Sara Tabaei, Library Information Literacy Director

Happy New Year 2021!

2020 was a challenging year, but as we look to 2021, there are many reasons to be hopeful. We are thankful to have been a part of your year and look forward to supporting your success in the new one, too, through research support, online and print resources, and more. Make it your resolution to come visit us — online or in-person — and see all that we have to offer you.

Photo by Polina Kovaleva from Pexels

The Touro College Libraries wish you and your families a happy and healthy new year!