Category Archives: Texas Digital Library

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Starting the Conversation About OERs

If you follow open access initiatives in the news or #OA on Twitter, chances are you have heard about open educational resources (OER). From a $5 million federal grant to fund an open textbook pilot program, to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s recent announcement of twenty OER grants statewide in Texas, it’s clear that OER are here to stay.

But is UT ready?

What is OER?

As defined by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), “Open Education encompasses resources, tools and practices that are free of legal, financial and technical barriers and can be fully used, shared and adapted in the digital environment.” Open Education Resources are free to use and access, but the logistics of acquiring, managing, implementing access to, and defining OER is challenging for academic libraries. UT Libraries, along with our campus partners, are working to meet that challenge.

In response to a UT Libraries survey of potential scholarly communication projects for 2018, an OER Outreach Working Group was formed to create tools, resources, and training to help subject liaison librarians engage with OER issues.

What does the OER Outreach Working Group do?

The OER Outreach Working Group is comprised of librarians and professional staff from across campus. We meet monthly, and develop projects that seek to achieve the following:

  • Determine gaps in understanding or confidence
  • Look at peer institutions and/or best practices in OER education
  • Decide on resources to help address deficiencies
  • Plan for any informational workshops or the creation of resources
  • Get feedback on effectiveness of created resources
  • Make suggestions or plans for outreach about OER

Getting started: OER workshop for UT librarians, faculty, and staff

UT Libraries and the OER Working Group hosted 30 participants from departments across campus at a half-day workshop on July 24. The purpose of the workshop was to help campus partners define OER; introduce Creative Commons licensing; learn how to describe OER characteristics and benefits to faculty members and students; and be able to locate OER relevant to their discipline.

Two UT Austin faculty members shared their experience using and adopting OER for their courses. Dr. Jocelly Meiners, Lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, uses OER lesson plans and exercises to teach her courses for Heritage Spanish learners. She articulated the need for OER among language faculty and their students, as many specialized courses do not have teaching materials commercially available. Dr. Amanda Hager, Lecturer in the  Department of Mathematics, shared her commitment to using OER to help lower financial costs for students and discussed faculty’s challenges to creating, using, and adopting OER. In post-workshop survey responses, many participants noted that hearing from faculty provided the meaningful insights about OER adoption, creation, and use – and would like to hear more from faculty at future workshops.

What’s next for OER at UT?

UT campus partners are ready to learn more about OER. Starting in Fall 2018, OER will be promoted at the new faculty expo and the Working Group will begin updating select LibGuides to incorporate more OERs for student and faculty use. The OER Working Group plans to re-invest in future workshops geared toward specific groups and/or projects, and if you are interested in learning more about OERs please contact UT Libraries Scholarly Communications Librarian, Colleen Lyon at c.lyon@austin.utexas.edu.

Infographic from UT’s Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL)
Infographic from UT’s Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL)

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Who is the OER Outreach Working Group?

The OER Outreach Working Group is made up of eight members comprised of three organizations:

Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL)

Nathalie Steinfeld Childre (Publications Manager), Sarah Sweeney (Project Coordinator)

Texas Digital Library (TDL)

Lea DeForest (Communications Strategist)

UT Libraries

Gina Bastone (Humanities Librarian for English Literature & Women’s and Gender Studies), Sarah Brandt (Librarian for First Year Programs), Carolyn Cunningham (Social Sciences Liaison Librarian), Lydia Fletcher (STEM Liaison Librarian for Physical & Mathematical Sciences), Colleen Lyon (Scholarly Communications Librarian

Alicia Niwagaba Wins TDL Graduate Student Excellence Award

Alicia Niwagaba, photo: Kira Matica
Alicia Niwagaba, photo: Kira Matica

Alicia Niwagaba, graduate research assistant at the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA), was awarded the Graduate Student Excellence Award by the Texas Digital Library (TDL). She accepted the award during the Texas Conference on Digital Libraries on May 17. Niwagaba is a recent graduate of the Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) program at the UT School of Information.

During her time at AILLA, Niwagaba has worked on developing an open educational curriculum designed to teach language documentation researchers how to organize and arrange their materials and metadata to facilitate their ingestion into a digital language archive like AILLA. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant BCS-1653380, Transforming Access and Archiving for Endangered Language Data through Exploratory Methodologies of Curation.

Alicia Niwagaba, photo: Susan Kung
Alicia Niwagaba, photo: Susan Kung

Niwagaba is a key member of the project team, which additionally consists of AILLA manager Susan Kung and AILLA language curator J. Ryan Sullivant. “Niwagaba contributes valuable insight gained from her training in libraries and digital archives to improve the quality of the curriculum content and to incorporate literature and viewpoints that would not have been considered otherwise,” says Kung. The curriculum she is helping to develop will be taught as a weeklong course at the Institute on Collaborative Language Research (CoLang) at the University of Florida, June 18-22, 2018. Thereafter, the curriculum will be available as an open-access educational resource on AILLA’s website.

During her time at AILLA, Niwagaba developed a series of educational video tutorials about language archiving. These are designed to supplement the written curriculum or to stand alone as individual, shareable resources. Some of these engaging videos have already been widely shared throughout the language documentation community. This includes two that are available on YouTube: Language Metadata in AILLA and Filenaming.

Filenaming video created by Niwagaba (YouTube)
Filenaming video created by Niwagaba (YouTube)

AILLA manager Kung is grateful for Niwagaba’s contribution to the archive’s work, calling her “a critical member of AILLA’s curriculum development team.” Kung adds that Niwagaba “brings unique insight and perspective to the work that AILLA does. In fact, her efforts on this project have improved the level and convenience of service that AILLA is able to provide to our important stakeholders, the language documenters who entrust their precious, irreplaceable language materials to this repository. We are delighted that Alicia Niwagaba has won this award.”

View the Texas Digital Library awards announcement.

Building the Data Environment

Data Management Coordinator Jessica Trelogan.
Data Management Coordinator Jessica Trelogan.

Jessica Trelogan was brought in last year to fill the new position of Data Management Coordinator in order to build, maintain and enhance the data services deployed by the Libraries. 

This February will be the one-year mark for me here at UTL. I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown! Looking back, though, I can see why: our Research Data Services unit has been busy. We’ve accomplished a lot in a year, including a website overhaul, a GIS pilot, a move to a new department, and a bunch of workshops and consultations.

Perhaps most exciting of all is the launch of the Texas Data Repository (TDR), which we are shouting loudly about this month. This long-anticipated new service has been the result of a huge amount of effort by our friends at Texas Digital Libraries (TDL), who have been working toward it since Fall of 2013. After initially identifying a need for a repository service to handle small to medium-sized research data, they settled on the open-source Dataverse platform, developed and used by Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and they decided to roll it out as a consortial service for TDL members. The Dataverse Implementation Working Group (DIWG) were hard at it for over a year, piloting, testing, assessing, and, at last, launching the service this month.

I am especially excited to be managing our local instance of it here at the Libraries. Thanks to the highly flexible Dataverse platform, each local institution that takes advantage of the service gets to decide how much control to give users. We’ve decided to give our users full control, meaning anyone from the UT-Austin community can log in with an EID, deposit data, and decide how much, with whom, and when to share it. I have high hopes that this new service, which complements our publication repository, Texas ScholarWorks, will help our research community comply with funder mandates for data sharing and archiving, get credit by facilitating reliable data citation, and promote open and reproducible research.  

I look forward to getting the word out this spring about the Texas Data Repository, along with all our other research data-related services. One way we plan to do so is through a workshop series we’re launching called Data and Donuts. You’ll find us talking about research data every Friday this semester at 3pm at the Libraries (mostly at PCL). Oh yeah, plus there will be donuts!

LIFT Announces Call for Proposals


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The Longhorn Innovation Fund for Technology (LIFT) is a fund of approximately $500,000 that is awarded by the Research & Educational Technology Committee (R&E) to innovative academic technology projects that leverage technology to improve quality of instruction, create a differentiator for attracting higher caliber students to the University, or to create a competitive advantage to the University in attracting sponsored research.

The R&E Committee recently announced the call for proposals for funding in fiscal year 2012-2013.  LIFT funding is intended to provide one-time seed money for innovative academic technology projects that leverage information technology in order to improve quality of instruction, create a differentiator for attracting higher caliber students to the University, or result in a competitive advantage to the University in attracting sponsored research.  Awards are generally in the range of $75,000 – $125,000.

Libraries, University Benefit from Dell Agreement

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The University’s latest agreement with Dell provides the highest level of discounts via the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) contract for any UT Austin Dell purchase regardless of quantity.

Discounts are now based on the total annual volume of UT Austin purchases rather than the number of units being purchased on an individual order, making prices lower regardless of the number of units ordered or the time of year of the purchase.

Given the large installed base of Dell computers at the Libraries, this agreement will be very helpful as we manage the life cycle of our technology resources.

Enterprise Data Storage Project Complete

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On April 2, Information Technology Services (ITS) launched their new “bulk storage” offering to our campus.  This service is significant because it represents the first occurrence of a service that has been designed for campus departments and specifically architected for “high availability” and recoverability within a UT Austin data center.

ITS purchased a little over 1 pedabyte (PB) of storage – that’s 1,000 terabytes (TB) for use by departments and it is sure to become an essential resource for the library.

The Libraries is already one of the largest customers in the ITS data center and this service will be one that we evaluate carefully before making substantial storage purchases in the future.

Texas water researchers working with the Texas Digital Library

TDL.org stacked logoThis past month, the Texas Digital Library (TDL) and several prominent water researchers began the process of developing a new collaborative resource for sharing water data across the state of Texas. The Texas Water Digital Library (TWDL) will federate water research currently stored in dispersed databases and websites at various Texas universities. A model for the cooperative efforts of the Texas Digital Library, the TWDL will electronically harvest these resources from cooperating institutions (using a technology called OAI-ORE) and deposit them in a TDL-hosted DSpace repository. This federated repository will create a single place for researchers to search for water data from every part of the state: the Texas Water Digital Library. Continue reading

Conference at UT Austin to feature experts on digital libraries

tcdl-new-logo-mdThis spring, on May 17-18, the Texas Digital Library (TDL) will be hosting the 2010 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries (TCDL) at The University of Texas at Austin. In its fourth year, TCDL provides a forum for TDL members and others to explore issues related to digital libraries and digital scholarship.

The TCDL 2010 conference theme is Collaboration, and the conference program will be packed with experts speaking on issues of partnership and cooperation in the service of advancing scholarly communication.

The TDL is especially excited to announce its two keynote speakers for the event: Dr. Leslie Carr, of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, and Dr. Reagan Moore, from the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Continue reading

February issue of TDL Update newsletter now available

TDL-Update-Newsletter-February-2010-1Check out the latest issue of TDL Update (PDF), the newsletter of the Texas Digital Library, to discover the latest news and learn how TDL is working with its members to advance scholarly communications.

The February 2010 issue features the Royce-Darden Gospel Music Collection at the Baylor Electronic Library.

In addition, you’ll find:

  • A story on the development of a shared statewide resource for water data and research: The Texas Water Digital Library
  • Exciting news about the latest version of Vireo ETD Management software, which is now in the testing phase
  • Information about the 2010 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries
  • A reminder about Vireo user resources, including video tutorials, a wiki, and a new Listserv
  • News about Texas Tech University Libraries’ use of digital scanners
  • Information about spring training classes from the TDL

For suggestions about content for the TDL Update, please contact Kristi Park at kristi.park@austin.utexas.edu.

(Cross-posted at TDL.)

Illinois takes cue from Texas on electronic theses

texlibris_illini_vireoThey say good news travels, and the news about the Texas Digital Library’s Vireo application has made it all the way to Illinois, where the Fighting Illini are finding out what UT Austin already knows – that Vireo can make life easier for graduate colleges and libraries handling electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs).

The Texas Digital Library (TDL), headquartered at UT Libraries, is a multi-university consortium that provides shared digital services to institutions of higher learning in the state. UT Austin is a founding member of the organization.

The TDL developed the Vireo application to help graduate schools manage electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs), the digital versions of the documents that master’s and doctoral students must submit to obtain their degrees. In recent years, increasing numbers of universities have required students to submit ETDs in addition to (or in place of) paper copies. However, the tools for managing the unique workflow associated with ETDs – the approval process, for example, and the publication of ETDs in a digital repository – haven’t kept up with these changes in policy. Vireo was created to fill this need and is currently in use at UT Austin, as well as several other universities in the state. Continue reading