New Books at Lander College for Women Library

photo by the author

The library at Touro’s Lander College for Women recently added a great deal of interesting new books.  In this post, I introduce some of the titles and take us through the work and considerations that go into ordering books for a library’s collection. 

Some factors we consider when ordering books include:  (1) Mission Statement, (2) Collection Development policy, (3) managing collegiate relations with Professors who can recommend purchases, (4) each branch curriculum focus, (5) guidelines noted in the Touro College Library staff Wiki on how to order and weed books to make room for new acquisitions (6) cultivating academic interests in editing books, researching & writing books, and book reviewing which helps the acquisition process and (7) fielding reference questions at Lander College for Women, making one familiar with course syllabi and curriculum.  

Academic subject interests cultivated by librarians   

Thirteen of these new titles added to the collection are published by Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, five of which, including Huss’ The Zohar Reception and Impact, I reviewed for various journals. Eight of the new Jewish Studies books are published by Brill Press, six of which I reviewed. 

Thus our librarian’s own scholarship and book reviewing are often assets in keeping a pulse on academic disciplines. For instance, a tincture of my published, peer-reviewed work can be found at: Touro Scholar and Facpubs.  See also AJL Proceedings, referenced in RAMBI, along with popular reviewing sources like Choice, and Jewish Book World.

Building up areas related to Womens’ history  

We strive to beef up our collection in works relating to Women in all academic disciplines. My book reviewing and scholarship assists in this process; I reviewed the following for  the journal Women in Judaism:  The Rabbi’s Daughter and the Midwife. , Chaya T. Halberstam’s Law and Truth in Biblical and Rabbinic Literature. ,  Rav Hisda’s Daughter, Book 1: Apprentice: a Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery. , Kempner, Aviva. Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg ; Merin, Tamar. The Rise of Israeli Women’s Fiction;  Fried, Mindy. Caring for Red: A Daughter’s Memoir; Haredim-Religion.com. Israel . In the peer reviewed music journal  Notes: Quarterly of the Music Library Association, I reviewed a work on the musician Sara Levy. Featured in the new books photo is Rebbetzin Vichna Kaplan: The Founder of the Bais Yaakov Movement in America and  The Martyrdom of a Moroccan Jewish Saint.

We try especially to purchase books in the area of women’s history to bring from the margins to center stage the often discriminated place of women in history as noted in a podcast discussing my recent publication, Gluskin Family History, which was reviewed by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz of Ohr Sameach Yeshivah of Jerusalem on the Jewish Book World blog.     

Thus a host of factors noted in the above desiderata, go into the process of ordering books, thereby expanding our collection for current and future readers.

-post contributed by David Levy, Chief Librarian, Touro Lander College for Women Library.

How to Find a Missing Article

When you’re hot on the trail of an article and suddenly the link is broken or the piece mysteriously vanishes, what can you do? Don’t panic! Here are a few things you can try:

Go directly to the database

If you are searching for an article in the QuickSearch bar on the Libraries website, and clicking on the link takes you to an error page, try going directly to that database and performing a search there. You can also take your search terms to other databases related to the subject you are researching, as the article might be available in a different place.

Check for open access options

Like the many Touro faculty who share an open access version of their publications in Touro Scholar, the authors of the paper you are looking for might also have shared their paper in an institutional repository. You might be able to locate an open access version of the article via a search in Google Scholar or by going directly to the institutional repository of the institution with which the authors are affiliated.

Contact a librarian

You don’t have to search alone! If you are having a challenging time finding the article you are looking for, reach out to your campus librarian for assistance. We can help you explore other places where your article might be hiding or help you find another option that suits your research needs.

Email the author

The author of the article you are looking for might be able to send you a copy of it via email. Many researchers are happy to share their work with students and colleagues, but remember that not everyone is able to do so, especially at this time; be patient if you try to get the article this way, and consider other options, especially if you need the article soon.

Request it through Interlibrary Loan

Because many libraries have closed their physical locations during the pandemic, interlibrary loan is limited at this time. Consider this your last choice option if you are not able to track down the article using any of the other approaches listed here and be prepared to seek other options if your request cannot be fulfilled.

Open Education Week 2021

This post was originally published on March 2, 2020 and has been updated.

Happy Open Education Week! At Touro College Libraries, we are celebrating all things open education this week (and the rest of the year too). Follow this blog and our social media accounts (@tourolibraries) for more.

What would you do if you had an extra $175 to spend?

One Touro student saved that much in one semester when her professors used OER, or open educational resources, instead of traditional textbooks. OER, as defined by the Hewlett Foundation, “are high-quality teaching, learning, and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose.” These materials can include test banks, lesson plans, and assignment templates, but most commonly, the term OER is associated with textbooks.

In the definition of OER, free means both free of costs and free when it comes to the application of copyrights. OER are licensed under Creative Commons, or are simply in the public domain, which means they can be distributed, adapted, copied, edited —basically you name it — without legal repercussions.

And, as that student who saved $175 put it, “Open textbooks are helping me drastically cut costs associated with pursuing my undergraduate degree and I am now able to apply these funds towards other things including tuition payments. It makes my life easier since typically at the end of each semester I am left with these books that I will likely never use again that just take up space as they sometimes can’t be resold.”

Image source: Manfred Steger from Pixabay

Despite such positive student experiences, myths about OER abound:

Myth #1: Open simply means free. Fact: Open means the permission to freely download, edit, and share materials to better serve all students.

Myth #2: All OER are digital. Fact: OER take many formats, including print, digital, audio, and more.

Myth #3: “You get what you pay for.” Fact: OER can be produced to the same quality standards as traditional textbooks.

Myth #4: Copyright for OER is complicated Fact: Open licensing makes OER easy to freely and legally use.

Myth #5: OER are not sustainable. Fact: Models are evolving to support the sustainability and continuous improvement of OER.

Myth #6: Open textbooks lack ancillaries. Fact: Open textbooks often come with ancillaries, and when they do not, existing OER can provide additional support.

Myth #7: My institution is not ready for OER. Fact: Any institution can start with small steps toward OER that make an impact for students.

(Source: “OER Mythbusting” from SPARC)

Image source: Annett Zobel from Pixabay

Faculty across Touro are already adopting and adapting OER textbooks for their courses.

For example, the psychology department faculty at NYSCAS have adopted OER for their GPSN 110 course, and because of this, over 290 students across more than 12 sections have benefited from free, open textbooks.

Since the Open Touro initiative was established in Fall 2018, the use of OER has saved Touro students over $100,000 collegewide.

You can help increase that number by adopting, adapting, or even authoring your own OER — and librarians are here to help!

If you are interested in reviewing open textbooks available in your field, contact Sara Tabaei (sara.tabaei@touro.edu).

Learn more about the Open Touro OER Initiative here: http://libguides.tourolib.org/OER

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

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.

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

Annual Library Customer Satisfaction Survey 2020

What a year it has been! Despite the challenges 2020 has brought, the Touro Libraries have been working hard to support Touro’s students, faculty, and staff with research help, information literacy instruction, and more. We have tried some new services and carried on with some existing ones, and now, we want to know what you think of these offerings.

If you have utilized the Touro Libraries online or in-person during 2020, we invite you respond to our annual survey here: https://tourocollege.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3vYTqTdOj19eVpz. This survey will also pop up when you visit the Libraries website.

We value your feedback, and we look forward to continuing to provide excellent, engaging service to the Touro community in 2021 and beyond.

Listing Authors on Your Research Paper

In an ideal world, all authors listed on an academic paper would be seen as an equal contributors to the research and of equal importance. However, this is not the case. For a long time, the academic industry has set the precedent that the first author listed on the paper is the primary author who did the most work and is of the most importance. Unfortunately, this precedent has caused much confusion among readers, researchers, and academics alike as to how much each author is worth to each academic paper.

The first author’s name on an academic paper is a much sought after position. The person in this spot often has the good fortune of his or her name associated with the paper, since citation rules often limit in-text citations to the first author’s last name. This causes the rest of the authors in a citation to receive the unfortunate “et al” label. This tradition has led to the assumption that the rest of the authors listed are in descending order of contribution or importance. In addition to the first author listed, the name of the last author listed is also a coveted position since it has been traditionally reserved for the supervisor of a project. In contrast to this traditional way of listing authors, there are a number of other methods used to list authors on a paper:

  • Alphabetical – This is a method where by authors are listed in alphabetical order regardless of contribution effort. This is very convenient for large group projects.
  • Contribution statement – This method places an asterisk next to each author’s name, with a statement as to what they directly contributed to the article. This is becoming a more popular method, as many journals now require authors to explain their exact role in the research in addition, it is becoming more popular because it allows for more transparency as to how the research was conducted.
  • Negotiated order – This is a method whereby authors negotiate and “fight out” among themselves how the author list will be written. This allows all the authors to agree upon how they should be listed based on their efforts. Of course, the downside of this method is that it leaves less powerful members of a research team vying for political support regardless of the work they conducted.

Since there are no rules or standards regarding listing authors, problems can arise from the lack of transparency. The reader has to wonder how much each author actually worked on the research or how much politics played into the decision to list an author first.

There are several solutions to the problem of first author prestige. As listed above, a contribution statement is one of the solutions to this problem. Another solution is ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID). ORCID is a unique identifier that allows an individual researcher to connect his or her articles and work to his or her name, regardless of what order names appear on the author list of an article. This unique identifier also allows an individual researcher to be distinguished from other researchers who have the same name. This allows authors to clarify what work is theirs and what their accomplishments are.

For more information on ORCID, try these websites:

This post was contributed by Annette Carr, Chief Librarian, Bay Shore and was originally published in ‘Significant Results: The Research Newsletter of the School of Health Sciences’ Volume 1, Issue 1. It is reprinted here with permission.

A Software Named ‘R’

While many researchers rely on SPSS or SAS to handle their statistical data, many users are starting to migrate to R software. Unlike SPSS and SAS, which are propriety and costly to buy, R is a free, open source software that may be used for computing statistics while conducting research. Besides the cost, there are many advantages to R. It works with Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, and Linux platforms. It runs wide variety of functions, from basic to advanced; functions such as data manipulation, graphics, and statistical modeling are available. Because the software is open sourced, many developers have written and distributed add-on packages at no cost to the user, in order to improve functionality.

While there are many advantages to R software, it is not without its downsides. Traditional software packages, like SPSS and SAS, have a very comprehensive user interface and are easy to use. For example, SPSS interface looks very much like an excel spreadsheet, with which most people are familiar and using. In contrast, R has a large learning curve and can be less user friendly. It relies more on programming and coding knowledge, with which many researchers do not have experience. However, there are sources online to help researchers learn the programming fundamentals that are required to use R. Another area where R lacks is in technical support. Both SPSS and SAS are commercial products and have customer/technical support available to users. Since R is open sourced software, there is no official support. However, a large community of R users can help one another troubleshoot problems and offer peer support to one another. If users are not comfortable with peer support, there are third party groups that provide support for R and respond to problems rather quickly.

R software can be downloaded and installed at https://cran.r-project.org

A session about R will be offered at the SHS Faculty Research Retreat on February 12, 1:30-2:30 PM.

Additional resources

This post was contributed by Annette Carr, Chief Librarian, Bay Shore and was originally published in ‘Significant Results: The Research Newsletter of the School of Health Sciences’ Volume 1, Issue 1. It is reprinted here with permission.