Library Guides for Students (and for you!)

Exit West LibGuide

Over the summer librarians review, update, and create new library guides to assist students as they navigate research projects. While many students visit the reference desk or schedule library research consultations when confronted with a research project or specific information need, not all students take advantage of these face-to-face opportunities and some prefer to figure it out on their own. This is why librarians create online LibGuides – to help students get started with research and answer frequently asked questions. Here are some suggested LibGuides for you to share with your students. If you have questions, would like to see specific resources added, or have a guide created for a specific course, contact your library liaison.

Not all guides are intended for students! Ariela McCaffrey’s Online Educational Resources @ Connecticut College is a wonderful primer for faculty interested in finding online material for courses, and Fred Folmer’s Copyright Resources @ Connecticut College will answer many of your copyright-related questions.

New Interdisciplinary Image Content in ARTstor’s Digital Library

Connecticut College Libraries’ subscription to the ARTstor Digital Library provides the campus community with access to over two million downloadable images. Created to meet the image needs of art and art history departments, ARTstor has radically expanded its interdisciplinary content in recent years. Subject guides point users to content in more than 22 disciplines, including anthropology, women’s studies, American studies, Middle Eastern studies and other area studies. The recent addition of collections by Magnum Photos, Panos Pictures, and Condé Nast brings ARTstor’s photographic collection to over 350,000 pictures and extends the database’s coverage to include documentary photography of historical and recent events, such as political demonstrations worldwide and the ongoing refugee crisis.

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 4.11.54 PM
Once a database for art historical images, ARTstor now provides image content covering a wide range of topics across multiple disciplines, as well as subject guides and other teaching resources to help you make use of these interdisciplinary collections.

ARTstor’s webinar offerings provide training and ideas for using the Digital Library to teach with images in many disciplines. The platform’s image-group functionality allows you to create and share collections with your students and download PowerPoint presentations with captions included. If you have any questions about using ARTstor, contact Lyndsay Bratton, Connecticut College’s ARTstor administrator.

Building a bibliographic portfolio with RefWorks

RefWorks Screenshot
References saved in RefWorks account

Co-authored by James Gelarden, Access Services Librarian

Building a bibliographic portfolio is a way for students and researchers to work smarter rather than harder. RefWorks is a tool that allows users to create bibliographies, organize references around a theme, and collaborate and share their bibliographic research.

In October, we held a workshop for ANT 201 Theory and History of Anthropology students to teach them the basics of using bibliographic software and strategies for organizing their research. Our hope was that these students would be developing a skill that would help them with research in their various courses at Connecticut College and beyond.

The first step was having students create RefWorks accounts. This is an easy task and all Connecticut College students have free access. RefWorks is not the only bibliographic software available: Zotero and Mendeley are also excellent options. However, RefWorks has a lot of useful features such as downloadable PDFs that can be annotated, cite-as-you-write compatibility with MS Word, and lots of sharing functions to facilitate group work.

Next, James demonstrated some of the basic functions of RefWorks: searching in databases (Jstor, Google Scholar, ProQuest, etc.), saving references and PDFs, creating folders, and sharing work. We impressed upon the ANT 201 students that building a bibliographic portfolio is of particular interest to majors. Students can create bibliographies for specific assignments and courses but they are likely to find that this research will serve them well in many courses as they navigate their majors and pathways. Our hope in this class was that students would become aware of central academic conversations in contemporary anthropological theory. As Anthropology majors take more classes in the discipline, they will start to build upon existing knowledge rather than doing all the work from scratch each time this write a new paper. RefWorks makes finding saved material very easy. This software encourages its users to create folders to organize their research by subject but entries can be tagged, and all aspects of the database are searchable.

RefWorks facilitates collaboration and sharing simple. Students doing group work can create and share bibliographic references, making it easier to coordinate research. Those writing theses and projects for graduation can share their work with their advisors, who can add new references and notes.

RefWorks Screenshot: Folders
Folders in RefWorks

At the end of the workshop, all the students had functioning RefWorks accounts and a basic understanding of the platform. They have been putting the software to use in their annotated bibliography assignment and their term paper. We hope that they will continue to use RefWorks or another reference software throughout their time at Connecticut College. Getting organized about research early on in an undergraduate career can be a big time saver and is an excellent way to start building expertise and familiarity with scholarly literature in specific fields. It is also possible for Connecticut College graduates to request continued access to their RefWorks account.

Wrapping up Open Access Week

Storify of Open Acces

We had a great time creating our tweet-stream about Open Access for International Open Access Week last week! If you didn’t follow us, click on the Storify above to read all our Tweets – I promise you won’t be disappointed! Bonus points if you find yourself mentioned!

I’d like to leave you with what I think the most important information about Open Access is. It is easy to participate and make a difference by including your publication in Digital Commons! Authors usually retain the right to make the final draft of their article freely available. In some instances, we can even make available a pdf of the final published version from the journal. Simply send an email to Ben Panciera and include your CV or a list of citations. Librarians will research your publications, determine what can and cannot be posted (and in what format), and will upload your articles to Digital Commons @ Connecticut College. It is a simple as providing us with a list of citations.

Your research does not need to be locked up behind a paywall, only available to those students and scholars affiliated with institutions that can continue to afford the ever-increasing prices for journal subscription packages. In addition to feeling good about supporting open access, making research available in institutional repositories increases citations to your work. It’s a win-win for everyone, including libraries.

If you have questions about Open Access, or the Open Access Policy at Connecticut College, view our Open Access webpage.

Data Fair September 26-29!

Connecticut College is a member of ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research), a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences. It hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields. We have written about this amazing resource on the blog, in Andrew Lopez’s post The JSTOR of Data Archives.

We invite you and your students to join us for the ICPSR  Data Fair being held next week, which “aims to introduce, engage, and help the data community manage through the ongoing Data (R)Evolution.” We will be broadcasting Data Fair events in the Davis Lab all this week. You will find the schedule below, and on the ICPSR website.

ICPSR Data Fair Poster

Beyond Pencil and Paper: Audio Assignments Via Moodle

Image of microphone

My choir students expressed that they wanted to be assessed more often so that they would be more motivated to practice. At that time, I was having students sign up in small groups for “check in” meetings. While this was valuable, it was difficult to give individual feedback to all 40 students and could not logistically happen very week.

With the help of Jessica McCullough, we devised a way for my students to record short audio assignments and upload them to Moodle. One such assignment was an assessment of the pronunciation of Zulu song text. Jessica came into my class and demonstrated how to record and upload the files with their smartphones. (iPads are available to check out in the library if students do not have a phone or computer with audio recording capabilities.) The students could record the audio as many times as they liked before submitting their assignment, which encouraged deeper engagement in class and individual practicing. To help those who were struggling, choir tutors through the Academic Resource Center could help them prepare for the assignments.

With the Moodle interface, I was able to monitor which students turned in their assignments (as opposed to scrolling through emails with attachments), listen to the files without opening another audio application, and respond with typed comments (see Karen Gonzalez Rice’s post for making audio comments).

As a result of this “new” method, I could assess more often, get a clearer picture of how individual students were faring in my class,  and further refine my teaching to meet the diverse needs of the students. A variation of this assignment is having the students digitally videotape themselves individually or in groups. A video assignment provides a more complete picture of how my students are performing and it also gives visual confirmation of who is taking the test when it is a group assignment. While this post is regard to an assignment that I give in my choral classroom, it has potential applications in other academic settings in which students need to demonstrate their knowledge in ways beyond  traditional “paper and pencil” assignments.

Image credit: flickr photo by lincolnblues shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Language Learning with Japanese “Tadoku”

Last semester my JPN 201 students learned how to communicate with Japanese college/university students in Japanese through the #CCJpn201 Twitter Project. I wish I could continue this project. However, the academic year in Japan will end in March. Furthermore, since months of February and March have no classes for students, it would be difficult for me to find Japanese students who are willing to work with my students.

Are my students having easier time in JPN202 because they don’t have to tweet everyday? Since the project during fall was so challenging, do you think they deserve a break? My answer is “Absolutely not!” There is no time for them to rest in terms of learning Japanese before their going to Japan.

I already started the “Tadoku” Project in JPN202!! What is “Tadoku”? “Tadoku” is a Japanese word. “Ta (多)” means “many,” and “doku (読)” means “reading.” What I ask my students to do in class is to read books written in Japanese. Why is it so special? Nothing. They just have to read books without a dictionary or without checking unknown words. Is their vocabulary large enough to understand a story? Are they not frustrated because they are not allowed to use dictionaries? Some students worry how they could read without using dictionaries.

Let me explain how “Tadoku” works. There are four rules for “Tadoku.”

  1. You must start reading books from an easier level.
  2. You must not use dictionaries to read a book.
  3. If you encounter an unknown word, you must skip it.
  4. If you cannot continue reading, you must stop reading the book, and start reading a new one.

Japanese ebooksI purchased graded books from level 0 to level 4 for a “Tadoku” activity in class. They are graded on the basis of vocabulary, grammar structures, and the numbers of words used in a book. I also asked the library to purchase “Tadoku” ebooks through EBSCO which students can access through the library catalog.

Books in JapaneseLast Friday my students had their first “Tadoku” class. I brought the level 1 books with me. Each of them picked up a book which appealed to them. After finishing a book, they picked up another one, then another one, then another one. The ticking from the clock on the wall was the loudest noise in the room. When class was over, there was an assignment for them to reflect on what they read.

I created this assignment by using Google Forms. They need to tell one’s own name, the date of reading, the titles of the books they read on the day, the title of the book they choose to recommend; and to describe easiness to read by scale from 1 to 5, how interesting the book is by scale from 1 to 5, and their recommendation by scale from 1 to 5; and lastly they have to write a comment in Japanese on the book.

Would you be interested in knowing how I used Google Form for this purpose? When you create an assignment by using Google Forms, you will email the form to the students. After your students respond to the assignment, you can see responses collectively as well as individually. When you click “individual” on the page of their responses, you can find how each student responds to your questions. It is very convenient for me to use this form because I want them to use a scale to describe certain things and to write a paragraph about their reflection on the same page. And students’ responses will be kept in a folder in my Google Drive. There will be more “Tadoku” activities throughout this semester. I’m looking forward to reading their ratings as well as their comments.Comment in Japanese from Google Form

Video, Images, and Music, Oh My! Library Resources for Teaching

"Now that we can tell time, I'd like to suggest that we begin imposing deadlines."

You may have noticed that this blog has been silent for a few weeks. This partly has to do with the Thanksgiving break and workload at this time in the semester, but also to the huge amount of information I want to share – I am overwhelmed at the thought of writing (and asking you to read) so many posts!  

As a start, I would like to share some of the great digital resources the library provides and that you might consider incorporating into your classes as you plan for next semester. To learn more about any resource listed here, stop by the reference desk or contact your library liaison.

  • Kanopy: the library’s answer to Netflix! Make time over break to browse this amazing source of high-quality streaming documentary and feature films from such reputable sources as Criterion, California Newsreel, First Run Features and more. You’ll find films on topics such as Black Lives Matter, Transgender Stories, Asian American Studies, Immigration and Identity. Many films also include study guides. As if this weren’t enough, public performance rights are included so any film in the collection can be shown outside of class and open to the community!
  • Have you looked at ARTstor recently? They continue to add amazing content, most recently 18,000 images from Condé Nast, including 3,000 cartoons from The New Yorker (including the cartoon above, without the watermark!). Other interesting and interdisciplinary collections include 53,000 photographs from The Museum of the City of New York, photographs of the AIDS crisis by Thomas McGovern, nearly 3,200 images of Andean ceramics from the Fowler Museum at UCLA, over 3,600 images of non-Western art from the Seattle Art Museum and more. ARTstor’s Subject Guides and Curriculum Guides are useful for navigating the collection.
  • Want to immerse students in a different place or time period? Do you discuss music and culture? American Song includes music by and about Native Americans, miners, immigrants, slaves, children, cowboys and more. For a focus on Jazz music, Naxos Jazz Library includes over 45,000 tracks. Contemporary World Music contains 50,000 tracks from genres such as reggae, worldbeat, Balkanic jazz, African film, Bollywood, Arab swing and jazz, and other genres such as traditional music – Indian classical, fado, flamenco, klezmer, zydeco, gospel, gagaku, and more. Classical collections include Classical Music Library and Naxos Music Library.

The JSTOR of Data Archives: ICPSR

Connecticut College is a member of ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research), a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences. It hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields. In this post, Anrdrew Lopez walks us through one scenario for using this rich resource.

Search Tip: Focus on Variables

Like other library databases, there are many options for searching the contents of ICPSR. This activity of searching for data in ICPSR takes places on the big purple tab. Because many of the studies in ICPSR are so large, however, they often contain hundreds of variables or more, it can be effective to focus a search on finding individual variables inside and across studies, rather than searching for the “perfect” study. 

Inside ICPSR, this involves using the Search/Compare Variables feature:

Purple Search Ribbon in ICPSR

Inside the variable search feature, use one or more keywords to search for variables across studies. I tried searching for “LGBT” and got 63 results. The variable highlighted below in the results list caught my interest, “LGBT organizations addressing the three most important issues facing LGBT communities of color.” 

List of Variables from Search

By clicking on the link to the variable, it opens in the context of the study of which it is a part.

Variable Result in Context

It is very easy to find other variables/questions that were asked in conjunction with the one I selected by looking at the column on the left. Other interesting questions are, “Homophobia is a problem within my racial or ethnic community (Q5A),” “Homophobia is a problem in my neighborhood,” “I feel connected with my local LGBT community,” and more. 

Working with Variables

I am interested in one of the variables on homophobia(Q5A), so I click the link at the top of the page to the study proper: “Social Justice Sexuality Project: 2010 National Survey, including Puerto Rico (ICPSR 34363).” On the study page, I can see this study contains 304 variables, and there is information about accessing the data, where I can see it has been prepared with options for built-in online analysis.

Dataset Options

These options mean the data for the study can be accessed on-screen without the use of any other statistical software, which is otherwise necessary for working with data in ICPSR. To take advantage of either option, and because we are going to be working with sensitive research data, you will need to create an ICPSR account and login.

Run a Crosstab/Frequency

To run a Simple Crosstab/Frequency I select the variables which initially interested me:

  • Row = Q5A: Homophobia is a problem within my racial or ethnic community
  • Column = RACECAT: Race categories
  • Control = GENDERID: Gender Identity
  • Run the table

This produces a series of data tables and charts, where I can see the results for the responses to the question about homophobia broken down according to the race and gender categories I selected. The chart below shows the response data for males:

Chart Showing Survey Results from Males

This chart shows the response data for females:

Chart Showing Survey Results from Females


ICPSR offers many more features for using and teaching with research data. For more information or if you have questions, contact Andrew Lopez, Research & Instruction Librarian.

Next week is data week!

Next week we are offering two data-related workshops: Working with Data Across the Curriculum and Intro to Data Visualization Tools. Whether you use data in your own research, ask students to use data, or are interested in exploring ways to easily incorporate quantitative exercises into your courses, please join us!

Working with Data Across the Curriculum
Monday, October 12, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Davis Classroom, Main Floor, Shain Library
The Connecticut College community has access to a treasure trove of data and the tools to use this data through our membership with the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Use ICPSR data sets and tools to build an exercise in quantitative literacy into your course, no matter your departmental affiliation. The ICPSR database is a one-stop wonder of analysis-ready data collections spanning the social sciences. Take advantage of ready-made learning guides, exercise sets, and connect data directly with the associated scholarly literature. Download data files to be analyzed with SPSS or STATA, or use built-in online data analysis tools without downloading anything and without any specialized knowledge of statistical software. Participants will practice using the ICPSR database and explore opportunities for including it in your teaching. This is a brown bag lunch event, which means you should bring your own, but cupcakes and coffee will be served for dessert.

We do know there is a conflict with the Fall Open House Lunch. Feel free to come late or leave early as your schedule requires. If you are interested in learning more but are unable to attend, contact Andrew Lopez for more information.

Intro to Data Visualization Tools
Tuesday, October 13, 3-4pm
PC Classroom, Lower Level, Shain Library
Research and instruction are increasingly data-driven with the proliferation of both digitized research materials and the digital publication and presentation of research outcomes. Digital visualizations have become a valuable lens through which to make sense of that data. In this hands-on workshop, we will build dynamic story maps, timelines, and graphs, using several open-source tools that can enhance existing assignments and presentation formats in your courses. This workshop will be led by Lyndsay Bratton, Digital Scholarship & Visual Resources Librarian.