Category Archives: Uncategorized

Grad students needed for 1-hour focus group

Graduate students, you may have noticed that PCL is under construction this semester as we build our new Learning Commons, a space focused on teaching, learning and writing.  Now we’d like to hear more about your research needs.

Come participate in a 1-hour focus group session and let the UT Libraries know what services and spaces you value and what’s missing.  We’ll use your input to inform planning for the near future, and you’ll get a free meal!

Email Jenifer Flaxbart,, to sign up for one of the following sessions:

Tuesday, February 24, 7:00pm, PCL 3.120

Friday, February 27, 12:30pm, PCL 3.120

Sunday, March 1, 9:00pm, PCL 3.120

Sunday, March 8, 7:00pm, PCL 3.120

Please RSVP today, before the session you want fills up and so that we can plan for your participation.

Understanding Open Access

Open access refers to free access to scholarly literature. Although the idea of open access has been around for a while, the widespread availability of resources online and the prohibitive costs of journal subscriptions have pushed the concept of open access to the forefront of academia and publishing. In open access publishing, authors can either publish through an open access journal, or deposit their work in an institutional repository. There are many reasons people decide to publish open access including ideological, economic, and practical.

Ideologically, authors might be motivated to share their findings and research with people who can’t afford journal subscriptions, including in the developing world. They might also want to take a stand against for profit publishing, which ties into the economic reason. Practically, authors might hope to increase their impact factor by publishing open access, though there are conflicting studies as to whether open access articles are cited more often.

In considering open access, it is important to establish the differences between “Green” and “Gold” OA The Green model or “self-archiving” refers to self-publishing in an open repository, such as a campus institutional repository. This kind of publishing incurs no cost to the author, and some grant providers require green publishing to ensure that the research they funded reaches a wide audience. For already published articles, see what rights you have to self-archive your material using the SHERPA/RoMEO database.

The Gold model or “author pays” refers to publishing in an open access journal. Authors generally pay a fee to publish in an OA journal, and the work is submitted to some form of peer review.

Some obstacles to open access publishing include perceived quality of open access journals, unfamiliarity with the process, and copyright concerns. If you have questions or concerns about open access sources or publishing, the UT Libraries can help!

Check out our Scholarly Communication Page for more information on UT open access policies.

The SPARC Author Addendum has resources on securing your rights as an author.

Here is the Directory of Open Access Journals.

The Harvard Open Access Project is also a good resource.

Work Consulted:

Mischo, William H., and Mary C. Schlembach. “Open Access Issues and Engineering Faculty Attitudes and Practices.” Journal of Library Administration 51, no. 5/6 (July 2011): 432–454. doi:10.1080/01930826.2011.589349.


When Should I Use Google Scholar?

Google Scholar has an ambiguous status in the library and research world. Obviously, it is powered by the Google, which is kind of a dirty word in academic research. Also, the fact that it is free throws further suspicion on its quality, particularly when libraries pay lots of money for database access. Finally, there have been issues of inaccuracies and incompleteness in citations, and a lack of clear criteria for what makes a work “scholarly” enough for Google Scholar.
On the other hand, many academic libraries (including UT) link to Google Scholar on their websites, and provide tutorials on how to use it. By providing link resolver access, libraries are clearly collaborating with Google Scholar and anticipating that students will use Google Scholar to conduct searches. Students might find Google Scholar more user friendly than an academic database.
You might be wondering, is Google Scholar the best for my field and topic? There are varying reports on the comprehensiveness and quality of searches in Google Scholar, and since the algorithms for Google Scholar will be different from other databases, it might be worthwhile to compare a Google Scholar search with another database search.
To make sure you are getting the most out of your Google Scholar search, check out this tutorial and the database page on the UT Library website. Go to Research By Subject to find out more about subject specific resources.

Work Consulted:

Neuhaus, C., Neuhaus, E., & Asher, A. (2008). Google Scholar Goes to School: The Presence of Google Scholar on College and University Web Sites. Journal Of Academic Librarianship, 34(1), 39-51.

Researching Wind Power

Looking at wind energy in Texas could be an interesting topic for exploring renewable energy, since Texas is the biggest wind producer in the United States.

Gale Virtual Reference Library is a good place to start with a new topic. It provides access to encyclopedias and other reference sources. It’s kind of like searching Wikipedia, except you can actually cite these sources in a paper! When I do a keyword search for “wind energy” I get 495 results.

Once you have a better idea of what you’re interested in, you might want to move on to searching databases for journal articles. Some good search terms might be “wind power,” “wind energy,” “wind farm,” or “wind turbine” to name a few. If you want to focus your research on Texas, you can add “Texas” to one of the search fields. Here are some database suggestions:

Academic Search Complete is a great database for just about any subject.

Compendex and IEEE Xplore are two great engineering databases. In Compendex, Make sure to select the “Subject/Title/Abstract” option for Texas, otherwise author affiliation will show up. IEEE Xplore will also allow you to sort the results by most cited.

Business Source Complete will be a good database to explore the economic and commercial aspects of wind power.

GeoRef and Environment Index– These databases will be useful for focusing on the environmental impact of wind energy.

Web of Science is another good database for this topic. You can sort the results by how many times an article has been cited. You can also do a cited reference search to find works that cited an article you liked.

To read up on wind energy in the news, LexisNexis offers comprehensive coverage from 1980 until today. You can select your source type (“newspapers” is probably going to provide the most sources), or a specific source title such as the Austin-American Statesman.

Google Scholar can also be a handy tool for finding citations. Make sure to utilize the advanced search option to refine your results. For example, when I type “wind energy texas” and hit enter, I get 270,000 results. When I click the arrow in the search field and select “in the title of the article” instead of “anywhere in article,” I get 74 results, which is much more manageable!

For more suggestions, check out our Energy Resources Research Guide, and don’t hesitate to contact the library with questions!

Carnegie Mellon University team creates most comprehensive research guide available to date on Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas extraction

September 18, 2012 PRESS RELEASE

PITTSBURGH—Today, a team of Carnegie Mellon researchers led by Robert Strauss, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, and  Afeworki Paulos, Social Science Librarian  and Adjunct Professor of Social and Decision Sciences,  launched the most comprehensive online compilation of literature on natural gas extraction in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. The resource will allow policymakers and scholars to make sense of the existing body of research on this topic and identify new opportunities for investigation. Recent Heinz College public policy graduates,  Anna Kasunic and  Collin Siu,  provided the bibliographic and technical support for the project. The online compilation was developed with a grant from the Chrostwaite Institute which is the research arm of the non-profit, non-partisan,  Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs.

Over 1,200 works of scholarly research, industry and think tank reports, government documents, maps, and existing research guides were catalogued in this project. Users can search for documents by keyword, browse by category, or download the catalogue in Microsoft Excel format. Overall, the effort identified over 530 documents that discuss the economic issues such as employment and tax revenues, whereas just two works deal with population changes and none with welfare.

“Not surprisingly, there has been scant investigation of impacts of natural gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing in areas such as population change, transportation infrastructure,  housing patterns, income or poverty, and social services usage.  There is very little knowledge about how this important economic driver is affecting so many aspects of our communities. The majority of the literature on this activity deals with economic, environmental, or public health impacts. And even these impacts are still under investigation,” said Strauss, professor of Economics and Public Policy at Heinz College.

UT gets $1M to get more women in IT

University Of Texas At Austin Receives Grant To Increase Number Of Women In Engineering.

The Austin (TX) Business Journal (10/19, Garza, Subscription Publication) reports, “The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information has received $1 million to increase the involvement of women in information technology.” The grant “was awarded to UT professor Lecia Barker, a principal investigator of the grant and a senior research scientist for the National Center for Women & Information Technology.” She “was awarded an additional $187,000 in grant funding to help engineering and computing fields to attract and retain more women.”

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Selects UT Austin as Research and Education Partner

“The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has selected The University of Texas at Austin for its Strategic University Research Partnership program — a federally funded program focused on advancing space exploration.

The partnership will enable the university and JPL researchers to propose collaborative research and educational projects in strategic focus areas such as robotics, nanosatellites and high-precision mapping. The program also creates an employment pipeline for JPL’s future workforce.

The University of Texas at Austin is one of 12 universities that have been selected for this partnership.”

University of Texas at Austin is awarded $18.5 million for a new Nanotechnology Center

September 10, 2012

“The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced today an award to the University of Texas at Austin and its partners to establish a new NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) focused on nanoscale manufacturing and systems to make the performance promised by nanomaterials and nanotechnologies more pervasive.

The ERC, one in a cohort of three with a nanosystems focus, will pursue interdisciplinary research and education to address questions important to both nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing and to meet critical industry needs through innovation.  NSF will invest $18.5 million in the Center over the next five years.”

UT researchers demonstrate vulnerability of civilian drones to hacking

The Austin (TX) American Statesman (7/5, Haurwitz) reported, “The technique, known as spoofing, created false Global Positioning System signals that tricked the drone’s GPS receiver into steering a new course. The Global Positioning System, which uses satellites and radio signals, is not encrypted for civilian uses, and that raises concern about the federal government’s plan to permit thousands of drones in US air space for commercial, law enforcement and university purposes,” Humphreys said.

University of Texas at Austin Supercomputing Center to Receive $10 Million in Private Funding

Feb. 21, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin today announced it has received a commitment of $10 million from the O’Donnell Foundation to advance data-driven science, also called data-enabled or data-intensive science.

TACC, one of the world’s leading supercomputing centers, will use the funding for new data infrastructure to sustain and broaden the university’s leadership in advanced computing and computational science. When completed, these projects will benefit research in dozens of departments and labs at the university, especially in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES).

The new resources will also augment TACC’s ability to support research at University of Texas System institutions such as biomedical research at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Novel data-driven projects such as consumer energy usage behaviors being studied at Austin’s Pecan Street Inc. will also benefit, as will major national projects in which the university is a key partner such as the iPlant project, a $50 million National Science Foundation-funded project to help with plant research, including improving food yields and producing more effective biofuels.