Open Education Conference 2020

This year, the Open Education Conference was entirely online – which made it possible for me and Sara to attend and present a lightning talk titled “OER is Served: Framing OER as a Service to Stakeholders”.

Like Juliana and Sara when they attended OpenEd in 2018, I was excited to hear how other colleges and universities around the world were starting and sustaining their open education initiatives and I learned many things to use in my own work.

CC-BY 4.0: Open Education Conference
“That’s Not an Issue Here”: Addressing Myths and Misconceptions about OER at Private Institutions

A lot of the writing and tips about working on OER programs come from and address publicly-funded colleges and universities; since Touro is one of a growing number of private institutions working on OER, this session was a relevant one. The presenters reiterated something we have already found to be true at Touro: private college students are just as concerned about textbooks costs as their public college peers, and private college faculty are just as interested in addressing those concerns.

How (and Why) to Create Your Own OER Podcast

This session from staff at MIT Open Learning detailed how they created a podcast called Chalk Beat Radio to promote open educational resources at MIT and beyond. The session began with the hosts playing a podcast they recorded explaining the steps they took to create the podcast series from start to finish and how they addressed some of the challenges they encountered. After they played the podcast, there was a live question and answer session, and there were many takeaways we can bring to our OER information sessions and webinars — maybe we’ll start a podcast, too!

Reimagining PreK-12 OER Development through Teacher Education Programs

Because Touro has such a strong School of Education, the discipline has been a focus as we try to grow the Open Touro initiative. Teacher training is also a natural fit for open pedagogy practices, and this session explored how that is being put into practice at Lehman College (CUNY) in the Bronx through a partnership between a faculty member and a librarian.

Beyond Funding: Strategies for Sustaining OER at a Community College

The OER Initiative at the Harrisburg Area Community College in Pennsylvania began during the 2019-2020 school year with the formation of a committee who got to work building a community that would adopt, adapt, and author OER and would keep the momentum going, even if funding ran out. The presenters pushed the importance of experienced faculty members who can support those just starting out, which is something we are working on developing through Touro’s OER Faculty Fellowship.

The Future of OpenEd

The Friday Plenary explored participants’ perceptions of this year’s conference and how this online format might be included in the future iterations of the conference, even if some aspects of it do return to in-person delivery. It was a productive way to wrap up the sessions and gave me a lot to think about as I finish my first year as an OER librarian.

All Open Education Conference sessions were recorded and will be made available for free on the conference website in the coming weeks.

If you are interested in learning more about open education at Touro, please check out our guides at the links below:

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.

Put on your yarmulke, it’s time to celebrate Chanukah!

This post was originally published on the Touro College Library blog in 2015

(photo Ricki Carroll)
Many menorahs (photo by Ricki Carroll)

When I was a college student living in the dormitory, one of my favorite times of the year was Chanukah. Starting from the evening of the twenty-fifth day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, over one-hundred girls who called the dorm home came down to the front lounge, where long, foil-covered tables were set up in full view of the street, to light Chanukah lecht (candles or lights).

For eight nights the front lounge was softly lit with the light from hundreds of Chanukah lights. It did not matter if that light came from a sturdy iron menorah you brought with you from home that used olive oil and wicks or a cheap aluminum menorah you purchased in the dorm’s convenience store with a box of multicolored candles. Saying the blessings and watching the lights burn together, remembering the miracles that occurred in Jewish history during that time, that was what counted. Everyone was friendlier and more cheerful by candlelight, even if finals were around the corner and assignments were due the next day. Girls brought their dreidels downstairs to play around the low tables and ate sufganiyot, traditional jelly doughnuts fried in oil, provided by the school.

Jerusalem_Sufganiot_(8141532264)
Sufganiot from Old Jerusalem, Jewish Quarter Road, Neeman Bakery (CC image by Geagea)

We sang Chanukah songs and discussed the story of how a small group of Jews called the Maccabees (incidentally, our school sports teams and acapella group were named for these famous warriors) rose up from the oppression of the Syrian-Greeks during the time of the second Temple. Antiochus, their king, had issued restrictive edicts punishable by death preventing Jews from practicing their religion, including outlawing the Jewish Sabbath and most importantly, installing and worshiping idols in the Holy Temple. Judah Maccabee and his followers fought back, winning the battle against the massive Syrian-Greek army with their small band of soldiers.

The seven Maccabee brothers are condemned to death by Antiochus IV, by
The seven Maccabee brothers are condemned to death by Antiochus IV, by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo

After the fight, when Judah went to re-dedicate the Temple after its desecration and light the great Temple menorah, he could not find any of the special oil used. All bottles appeared to have been smashed during the desecration. After a thorough search, a tiny bottle of oil that would only be enough for one day was found still sealed. That oil burned for exactly eight days and nights, the amount of time required to produce a new batch of oil. To remember this miracle, Jews eat foods fried in olive oil, such as the aforementioned sufganiyot and potato pancakes called latkes. The dreidel has the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hay, and shin on each of its sides, which stands for ”neis gadol hayah sham,” or “a great miracle happened there”. Though I am not in the dorm this year, I will make time to pass by, look through the front windows at the long table of lights, and remember.

This year, Chanukah begins at sundown on Thursday, December 10th and ends at sundown Friday, December 18th.

This post was contributed by Toby Krausz, Judaica Librarian, Midtown

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.

Give Thanks for Books

Thanksgiving is a special time when Americans gather with their families to reflect on what they have to be thankful for. This year especially, we have learned that each and every one of our blessings is special. 

Books play a special role in many American’s Thanksgivings experiences. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, three-fourths of Americans will read at least one book, newspaper, or magazine. And, on the busiest travel of the year, over half of Americans will be taking something to read as they travel. According to a Barnes & Noble survey, more than a quarter of Americans are taking a book as a means of getting out of those awkward conversations we often find ourselves in over the holiday.

Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

Whatever the reason, Americans turn to books to make their Thanksgiving extra special. Check out a book from your campus library or find an eBook to download before Thanksgiving to make your holiday a little more special. 

From our Touro Libraries family to you and yours, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

This post was contributed by Michael Kahn, Librarian, Touro College School for Lifelong Education

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.

The Dreaded CV19

Back in 2017, I shared my attempts to get back into running after many years, specifically referencing the “Freshman 15” and other corpulent milestones. Since then, I’ve done a fairly good job of keeping up the runs and avoiding salty snacks in front of the TV in my normal day-to-day life. Or at least, I did, until March 13, 2020. As many of us in the USA recall, that was the day ‘normal’ changed.

Continue reading

Presidential Election LibGuide

Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3rd, and polls in New York are open from 6:00am to 9:00pm. You can check to see if you are registered and find out where you can vote at the NYC Board of Elections website: https://vote.nyc/

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

Another useful resource to prepare for Election Day is Touro’s Presidential Elections LibGuide: https://libguides.tourolib.org/election

This guide has links to a variety of non-partisan resources about the candidates and where they stand on critical issues, the electoral process, how to vote, and municipal Boards of Elections sites.

Learn more — then get out and vote!

Disclaimer: This post is not an endorsement of any political candidate, party, or policy.

Meow-y National Cat Day!

Celebrated on October 29th in the U.S., and on August 8th in Canada, National Cat Day is a holiday that was created to raise awareness about cat adoption and rescue. Established in 2005, National Cat Day is also a day for cat owners and cat lovers to laud the cats in their lives and to acknowledge all of the joy that they bring.

Cats are the most popular household pet in the U.S.: around 34% of homes having one or more cats. In addition to the cute and cuddly factors, cats and other household pets provide social, emotional, and physical health benefits to their humans. These benefits include decreased cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels, decreased blood pressure, and decreased feelings of loneliness.

According to the CDC, “Research has shown that cats can provide emotional support, improve moods, and contribute to the overall morale of their owners. Cats are also credited with promoting socialization among older individuals and physically or mentally disabled people.”

Benjamin Franklin. Photo provided by Kelly Tenny.

Here are some “paw-some” ways (Would it really be National Cat Day if we didn’t stick at least one cat pun in here?) to celebrate this cat-centric day!

Adopt A Cat

There are millions of cats nationwide in need of a loving home. If you are in the position to take in a cat or two, why not share your home and add a new member to the family! Not only will you be changing that cat’s life forever in a positive way, you’ll be improving yours, too.

Donate To A Local Shelter

Many animal shelters are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations that rely heavily on the generosity of donors. Medical care, food costs, housing, and taking in animals on a continuous basis gets expensive. If you are able to give to a shelter to help them pay the bills, you’d be playing a key part in keeping that organization open and functional.

Volunteer Your Time & Skills

For those unable to donate monetarily, a great way to help out local shelters is to volunteer! Clean up after the animals, feed them, administer medications, and help socialize them. Allergic to cats? Unable to volunteer in-person? Why not donate skills that you have! These organizations often need help with other aspects of their operation like fundraising, organization of collection drives, social media promotion, and more

Diego. Photo provided by Kelly Tenny.
Spend Some Extra Time With Your Cats

Who better to spend quality time with on National Day Cat Day than your own feline friends! Snuggle up and take a cat nap together, unleash their frisky side by playing with their favorite toys, spoil them with treats, and snap some photos of your companion.

Unwind Watching Cat Videos

We live in a stressful world, so take a break from studying and watching the news to let loose with some laughter, cry happy tears, or gush over kittens. YouTube and other video streaming websites are rife with funny, heartfelt, and adorable cat videos. No matter what your mood is, there’s a cat video for that.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, April 15). About Pets & People. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, April 1). Cats. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/cats.html

Zax, D. (2007, June 30). A Brief History of House Cats. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/a-brief-history-of-house-cats-158390681/

National Cat Day (n.d.). https://www.nationalcatday.com/

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

An Exciting Opportunity to Publish Your Research!

It’s Monday morning, and, as you check your email over a cup of coffee, you notice a new message:

From: mdawson@gmail.com
Subject: An Exciting Opportunity to Publish your Research! 

Dear Dr. Smith,

I want to congratulate you on all your many accomplishments in your field of research and expertise. I am writing this e-mail with reference to your article published in the field of medicine. Specifically, I have had an opportunity to read your paper: Diabetes and Renal Malignancy in Adults, which was published in The Annals of Medical Case Reports, Volume 10 Issue 3. 

I know you are an expert in this field, so it is my honor and privilege to invite you to submit a manuscript to our new journal, The Open Annals of Medical Case Reports. This Open Access journal has a distinguished editorial board with extensive academic qualifications, is double blinded peer-reviewed, and is indexed in EBSCOhost, Ulrich, Informed Librarian Online, DOAJ, ISI, Google Scholar, CrossRef, OAK, and similar indexes. Volume 1, Issue 1 needs only two more articles to publish, so I am pleased to offer you a 30% discount on our APC! If perhaps you do not have a manuscript at this time, we request you to suggest your colleagues to submit.

Please let me know about this exciting opportunity as soon as you can!

Thank you!

Mike Dawson
Editorial Coordinator
The Annals of Medical Case Reports

Have you received an email like this in the past? Perhaps your first thought was, ‘Finally a good place to get my work published!’ Or, maybe you saw a 30% discount and the bargain shopper in you got excited. Maybe, instead you were suspicious: you’ve never heard of this person or this journal. But it’s new, so that explains it. Wait, is it really their “honor and privilege” and why are they congratulating me? Something is off. 

The email above is, in fact, fake. We made it up based on samples of messages sent from predatory publishers. The term “predatory publisher” was coined in 2010 by librarian Jeffrey Beall and continues to be used to describe amateurish or fraudulent organizations that intentionally deceive scholars into paying for their works to be published without the value-added services and support that reputable organizations offer, like peer-review, copy-editing, and indexing. Like most social engineering schemes, these predatory publishers use flattery and deceptive tactics to get your money, your research — or both! Similar schemes include invitations to become an editor or attend a conference, where your name and reputation might be used to lure other authors.

Don’t fall into the trap!

Photo by Skitterphoto

We recently received several inquiries from faculty regarding a few questionable publishers’ solicitations. We did some detective work to help make sure that our researchers publish with trusted and credible organizations. Here are some of the ‘red flags’ we check for each time we receive a request from your colleagues to evaluate a journal or publisher:

  • Publisher’s direct marketing, or spamming your email, asking you to share 
  • APC fee is not mentioned anywhere 
  • The promise of unusually and virtually impossible short submission-to-publication times (2 or 3 days!)
  • No clear guideline for author’s submission
  • Information on copyright and Creative Commons licenses is absent or unclear
  • Non-functional contact information, such as email and social media platforms
  • The contact address is residential or represents another business; try a search on Google to check for this
  • The names of lead authors or editors are repeated in other journals from the same publisher 
  • Editors are not known as experts in the field
  • The scope of journal is vague or too vast
  • Indexing claims use incorrect jargon

This is not a comprehensive list, so remember: when in doubt, contact your librarian! Suspicious emails should also be reported to Touro IT, especially ones with links and requests for personal information.

Additional library resources

  • Think, Check, Submit! Choose a trustworthy journal for your research. 
  • Rubric for Journal Evaluation
  • Research & Scholarship Library Guide 
  • Ulrichsweb: A global serials directory useful for researching if a journal is refereed/peer-reviewed

This post was contributed by Sara Tabaei and Timothy Valente, Midtown Library