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News and events from DePaul University Libraries

DePaul Pilots National Survey of Student Research Habits

by Scott Walter 5/21/2014 12:24:00 PM

Ithaka S&RDuring the Winter Quarter, DePaul University was one of a small number of institutions across the country to pilot a new survey of student research habits designed by Ithaka S&R. Ithaka S&R is a research and consulting service focused on the future of academic and cultural institutions, libraries, and scholarly publishing, and is best known for its Faculty Survey, which was conducted at DePaul in 2013.

Over 1,000 undergraduate students completed this survey of their use of assigned course materials, their study and research habits, their co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, their career plans, and their perception of the role of the library in their academic work.

While initial review of survey results demonstrate continuity with broader studies of college students’ research habits – 43% of DePaul students responding to the survey reported beginning their research with a general search engine such as Google, while only 28% reported beginning their research with a more specialized search engine or scholarly resource such as JSTOR – we are currently mining the data for additional insights into the way in which different resources are employed in DePaul coursework and the avenues through which DePaul students most regularly seek assistance in conducting their academic work. The survey, for example, documents the variety of assignments given to DePaul students by their faculty (e.g., research papers, fieldwork, responses to class readings), as well as the people and places (physical and digital) that students consult in seeking assistance with their academic work.

We are currently pursuing comparative data from other institutions that completed the pilot program in 2014 and will provide additional information on the results in Fall 2014. 

Changes to Library Services on Suburban Campuses

by Scott Walter 5/21/2014 11:42:00 AM
The DePaul University Library locations currently housed on the Suburban Campuses will close permanently at the end of their regularly-scheduled service hours on June 13, 2014. Faculty and students will continue to have access to library resources and services through services such as Ask-a-Librarian, online research guides and tutorials, and digital collections including electronic journals, e-books, licensed databases providing 24/7 access to thousands of full-text titles, image collections, and more.

Faculty, staff, and students also will continue to be able to request that materials from the DePaul University Library be delivered to them at Suburban Campus locations.  Materials from other libraries will likewise continue to be available through interlibrary loan. Information on pick-up and drop-off locations for library materials on each campus will be available from Suburban Campus administrative staff.

Susan Shultz will serve as liaison librarian to the Suburban Campuses and is available to discuss library services with suburban faculty, staff, and students. Additional information on library services available to faculty, staff, and students on the Suburban Campuses is available here.


Library Conducts Collections Review

by Scott Walter 5/21/2014 11:26:00 AM

The DePaul University Library has engaged in an active review of its collections program in recent years to ensure that we are best able to meet the teaching, learning and research needs of our faculty and students. Among the initiatives we have pursued as part of this review have been increased attention to the acquisition of e-books, including substantial collections such as Early English Books Online, establishment of new resource sharing programs such as the OCLC Faculty Reciprocal Borrowing Program, collaboration with our users to identify high-need items for acquisition through demand-driven acquisition programs managed both locally and as part of our state-wide consortium (CARLI), targeted acquisition of print and digital materials to support new academic programs in areas such as sustainability, health sciences, and more.

During Spring 2014, library staff are engaging faculty colleagues across the university to determine current collection needs, with special attention to print journal subscriptions and licensed electronic resources. Faculty feedback, along with data collected through consortial partners on interlibrary loan use and data collected through commercial vendors on the use of licensed resources, will help to guide decisions that we must make during Summer 2014 regarding re-allocation of resources across our collections program. This re-allocation will allow the library to continue to align resources available for faculty and student use with its annual budgetary parameters, and to do so within an environment where the cost of library materials continues to inflate.

If you have any questions about the library resources currently available to support teaching, learning, and research in your areas of interest, please contact your liaison librarian.

Sister Helen Prejean: In Person and on Paper

by Jamie Nelson 5/21/2014 9:45:00 AM

Sister Helen Prejean’s recent visit to DePaul included many opportunities for conversations with students.  One evening in Special Collections brought life to other voices not present in the room – those in letters, poetry, artwork and other documents preserved in Sister Helen Prejean’s papers in DePaul’s Special Collections and Archives.   Sister Helen Prejean

Students in Barbara Schaffer’s Digital Cinema 235 class had already spent two class sessions in Special Collections and Archives learning more about Sister Helen and her anti-death penalty advocacy and finding inspiration for their course assignment to create a short theatrical adaptation inspired by Sister Helen’s materials.  Twenty-one students came prepared with a variety of questions about Sister Helen herself, her journey, her advocacy, her experiences as a writer, and as someone whose work has been adapted for film, stage and opera.

Archives, by definition, are evidence of lived experiences. Students in Barb Schaffer’s class were able to review the evidence and then have a conversation with the archival materials and their creator.  Sister Helen, in talking about her advocacy, said that “authenticity and integrity demand we witness.”  Archivists use those same terms in describing the powerful learning that can occur with primary source documents – that events of the past present themselves without the mediation of an edited, transcribed text and encourage students to use their analytical skills to determine the authenticity, reliability, audience and intent for the original purpose of the materials.  

Three students in History 299 courses have used Sister Helen’s materials for their research papers this year, and one high school student based her Chicago Metro History Fair submission on research conducted in Sister Helen’s materials.  Special Collections and Archives is honored to care for Sister Helen’s materials, and to collaborate on rich learning opportunities for students.  

A small exhibit about Dead Man Walking: The Opera, with materials selected from Sister Helen Prejean’s collection is on exhibit in Special Collections and Archives through August 2014.  Special Collections and Archives is located on the third floor of the Richardson Library, and is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  Dead Man Walking the Opera  

DePaul University Library Welcomes New Staff

by Megan Bernal 5/20/2014 1:55:00 PM

Kyle Henke, Digital Archivist, comes to DePaul University from Columbia College where he established an institutional repository and managed the digital collections of the College Archives while integrating material into the classroom and the College community. Kyle’s role with Special Collections and Archives will be to acquire and preserve content across all of its collections, with a special focus on the electronic records collected by University Archives.

Kyle graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in history focusing on social aspects of Civil War and Reconstruction-era America. He received his MLIS from the University of Denver with a concentration in Archives and Records Management.
As the Library’s Technical Services Coordinator, Tami Luedtke provides oversight and leadership for the technical infrastructure, processes, and metadata that facilitate discovery of library collections. Tami's experience includes leading technical teams and developing new technical services processes and products from the ground up.  She also brings with her experience working on consortial projects and programs and a deep interest and advocacy for the needs of the researcher.

Tami holds an M.S. in Library Science and an M.A. in Religion & Religious Education from The Catholic University of America and comes to us most recently from the American Theological Library Association (ATLA), where she acted as Director of Electronic Products & Services.

Library Prepares for New Web Site in the Fall

by M Ryan Hess 5/20/2014 1:47:00 PM

The DePaul University Library will be migrating our Web site to the SharePoint platform this summer, with an expected launch in August after the end of the summer session. Most major library systems will continue to operate unchanged as will the structure of our site during this migration, so if you are familiar with how our current site is organized, you will find the new one similar in almost every respect.

Behind the scenes this summer, library staff will be working to ensure that new SharePoint content is up-to-date and functioning. We also invite interested users to take the new Web site for a test drive. Starting July 25th, the Library will make the new Web site available to faculty and students at special locations in the Richardson and Loop Campus Libraries. More information on this will be communicated in the summer, but if you are interested, please contact the Library Web Services Coordinator to schedule a session.

Open Educational Resources Expand Faculty and Student Options

by Terry Taylor 5/19/2014 3:57:00 PM

Over the past decade, faculty across the country have worked to address concerns about the cost of educational materials for students as well as to explore the opportunities for new approaches to teaching through the use of open educational resources (OERs). José Antonio Bowen, author of Teaching Naked”, and keynote speaker at this year’s DePaul University Teaching and Learning Conference, mentioned several OERs that he has found particularly useful in his teaching, including videos available through and Khan Academy and courseware available through MIT and Yale. As Bowen noted, students are increasingly aware of these resources and may be proactive in seeking them out as supplemental reinforcement of concepts they are learning in their classes.

The DePaul University Library provides a number of OERs that faculty may include in their courses, including the videos available through our YouTube channel, but our liaison librarians are also available to consult with faculty on other OERs that you might use in your courses. By making use of OERs, faculty may find fresh supporting material for their courses, direct students to high-quality resources available to all, and promote a cost-effective alternative to commercial textbooks. OERs may be included in your course reserves available through the library, and links may also be made to open textbooks, individually or as a collection.
As online and distance education offerings increase, the demand for widely accessible, quality resources continues to grow. Repositories like  (a peer-reviewed multimedia collection of online teaching and learning materials for higher education) and The Open University on iTunes U were early entries on the scene, but the market has expanded and so have the selections. Earlier this year, for example, the Getty Research Institute added over 70,000 images to its Open Content Program. Librarians are available to consult with faculty on options that may help them meet the need for OERs in their classrooms.

While OERs have been available for over a decade, the need for open textbooks has received great attention in recent years, both as a student advocacy issue and as a new opportunity for collaboration between faculty and librarians. Flatworld Knowledge, one of the largest publishers of open college textbooks, provides students with free online access to complete, peer-reviewed textbooks with options to purchase affordable print and digital formats. The University of Minnesota, in partnership with Boston College and Purdue University, hosts the Open Textbook Library, providing access to complete textbooks that instructors can use, adapt, and distribute and that can be downloaded for free. In Illinois, the Open Source Textbook Initiative has been launched to “"design, create, and implement open-source educational materials for use in introductory college courses,” including texts such as “Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation.”

For more information about Open Educational Resources, visit The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Web site.

Enabling Innovation

by Scott Walter 5/13/2014 2:52:00 PM
Just last year, we were completing final plans with our partners from across the university to begin the John T. Richardson Library renovations that would allow us to open the Information Commons in Fall 2013. One of our shared goals in this project was to create new approaches to traditional library services that would deepen our engagement with DePaul faculty and allow us to work with them to explore new approaches to teaching and research across the curriculum. As we complete our first year in the new space, we can already see the success of these efforts, especially in the digital humanities.

The Scholar’s Lab, for example, has proven to be a popular resource for faculty teaching in areas such as English, History, Music, and more. Beginning with an English Capstone course (ENG 390) co-taught in Fall 2013 by John Shanahan (English) and Megan Bernal (University Library), a number of courses have taken advantage of the technology, collaborative work environment, and access to library staff expertise provided by the Scholar’s Lab, including:

• ENG 471 (Bibliography and Literary Research) (Winter 2014), in which students assessed the impact of "big data" on the humanities using text analysis tools and the Twitter API;

• HAA 397 (Digital Art History – “Mapping Chicago Architecture during the Cold War”) (Winter 2014), in which students worked with digital images and mapping software to create their final group project, an online survey book of Chicago architecture;

• NMS 504 (Text and Image) (Winter 2014), in which students received instruction in Lightroom, a software used for image creation and editing;

• WRD 360 (Topics in Rhetoric – “Rhetoric of Warfare in the 20th Century”) (Spring 2014), in which students took advantage of the space and resources to integrate the “Operation War Diary” project into their coursework; and

• HST 360 (Doing Digital History) (Spring 2014), in which students worked collaboratively to discover, evaluate, and interpret digital historical materials and to learn about software used for the creation of digital exhibits, including Omeka.

Innovative teaching and innovative scholarship often go hand-in-hand, and the library is also prepared to support research projects that take advantage of our enhanced digital collections and services. Fr. Edward R. Udovic (History), for example, has built on his award-winning course on the history of Lincoln Park by employing the “Historypin” site to develop a unique collection of street-level “walks” around DePaul’s historic neighborhood informed by a combination of historic images and advertisements taken from postcards, photographs, and publications held in the Department of Special Collections and Archives.

Over the past several years, the DePaul University Library has invested resources in the creation of digital content, the acquisition of digital tools and technology, the renovation of space suitable to the pursuit of teaching, learning, and scholarship in a digital age, and in the recruitment of staff with the expertise that our faculty and students need to engage in emerging fields of teaching and research in the digital humanities and social sciences. We have seen several successful efforts pursued since the launch of the Scholar’s Lab last fall, and we look forward to working with additional faculty in the coming year to cement the University Library’s place as a partner and a promoter of innovation in teaching and research at DePaul.




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