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A Remembrance of U.S. Soldiers Serving Their Country

May 26, 2015

For Memorial Day in the U.S. we wanted to highlight works authored by U.S. soldiers and share other works about the men and women who fought in the U.S. armed forces.

The Journal of Military Experience, housed in Eastern Kentucky University’s institutional repository, Encompass, features works by veterans returning from war who have found a therapeutic benefit and a societal responsibility in documenting their wartime experience. The journal’s goal is to provide a creative space for veterans to find a place to narrow the gap “between military and civilian cultures.” To read more about this extraordinary journal see “Veteran-authored Journal at Eastern Kentucky University Gets NY Times Mention” in the DC Telegraph.

In Wright State University Libraries’ IR, CORE Scholar, you’ll see Miami Military Institute Photographs which span over 100 years of service. This collection contains photographs of the cadets and faculty of MMI during its years of operation, and depicts annual military encampments, sporting events, cadets performing military exercises, and at play.

Our recent blog “Primary Campus Resources in IRs Prove Rich Pedagogical Tools” includes the Bryant Goes to War collection which has drawn the campus community together and allowed faculty, alumni, and students to play active roles in the project’s success. The collection’s 1,400 World War II letters, rediscovered by Mary F. Moroney, Director of Library Services, after decades in a university basement, became the focus of the “Bryant Goes to War” project showcased in the university’s IR, Digital Commons @ Bryant University. Judy Barrett Litoff, Bryant University Professor and world renowned expert World War II letters, is now using the Bryant artifacts from this time period to teach students about World War II using primary source materials.

Show Data Wonks on Campus How Your Library Can Help

May 20, 2015

Want help becoming a “go to” person on campus for data management? Check out the handout we’ve created to help send you on your way. It will help you to address the many data-related questions flying around: How can researchers be sure to comply with data-sharing mandates for grants and funders? What are best practices for managing and sharing their data? How can you support centers and departments as they produce more and more data in hybrid formats?

It includes key points such as:

  • Media and file types for every researcher on campus
  • Advanced tools for data publishing
  • Multiple back-ups, cloud storage, and quarterly archives
  • Authorization and access-control tools
  • Support for all file types and formats

Enlist your subject and liaison librarians to help get the word out to department heads and faculty researchers that your library does data. You can share the link to our new DC Promotional Materials Resource page or go one better by printing out some copies and dropping them off in person. If you like the heft and shine of a professional print job, just contact us at and we’ll be happy to send a stack your way!

The 2015 Scholarly Communications Experts Directory: Easily Find Experts in Your Network!

May 12, 2015

Earlier this year over 100 members of the Digital Commons community responded to our call to share their knowledge of 33 categories of scholarly communications, repository management, and Digital Commons expertise. The result is the 2015 Scholarly Communications Experts Directory, a detailed record that makes it easy to find an expert in the community, whatever your needs.

The directory can provide the information you need to connect with peers and colleagues who can answer questions, provide guidance, and perhaps even come to your campus to speak with your library.

If you attended our recent ACRL event you may already have a copy of the directory, and the directory is now available on our website as well! Here you can find directory information in two different formats: a PDF of the document handed out at ACRL, and a spreadsheet where you can sort data according to whichever field you’d like to explore.

The PDF provides data both by area of expertise and alphabetically by respondent, with the alphabetical section including the respondent’s scholarly communications profile and selected publications. The spreadsheet provides even more context to each respondent’s expertise, including information about topic-specific presentations and projects.

Whichever format you’re accessing, the directory can provide the information you need to connect with peers and colleagues. In addition to identifying expertise, we have included respondents’ FTE, Carnegie Class, and location, giving you the opportunity to reach out to a colleague at a similar or local institution.

We hope this will be a valuable resource for the scholarly communications community to foster close partnerships and ongoing conversations. If you have any questions or comments about the directory we’d love to hear from you! And if you would like a print copy mailed to you, please contact us at


Celebrating the Latest Award Winners!

May 5, 2015

It is wonderful to see recognition of the great work being done across the Digital Commons community. We are seeing associations recognize special projects which advance collaborative partnerships, consortia recognize outstanding programs which show innovation in online education, and schools recognize dedicated faculty who increase the impact of scholarly work.

The Association of American Medical Colleges has honored Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for its innovative work in the Human Research Protection Office Collection, captured in its IR, Digital Commons@Becker. This unique, open access, globally-viewed collection houses materials relevant to the development, conduct, and review of human subject research studies including conferences and podcasts. The announcement from the Association of American Medical Colleges explains that:

“The primary goal of this year’s awards program is to identify bright spots and disseminate innovations in two different areas: institution-community partnerships and maximizing research efficiency. The six awarded projects were selected by a panel of leaders in biomedical research, education, and training from AAMC-member institutions as well as senior AAMC staff. Entries were judged by the extent to which they advance creative, collaborative partnerships and their impact in the institution and community.”

In our next story, excellence and innovation in a degree program have been honored by a library consortium. The Online Learning Consortium has recognized the exclusively online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program at San Jose State University’s School of Information, which won the “Outstanding Online Program Award.” SJSU’s repository, SJSU ScholarWorks, houses a number of collections from the department. According to the press release:

“The OLC Awards acknowledge creative and effective approaches to advancing online education. The criteria for the Outstanding Online Program award included learning effectiveness, cost effectiveness, student satisfaction, and faculty satisfaction.”

As stated in a separate OLC press release, “The 2014 recipients represent extraordinary examples of the exciting innovation happening in online learning today, and we congratulate them on their successes.”

Finally, it’s great to see schools recognizing their outstanding faculty! Sheryl Sheeres Taylor, Director of Library Services at Dordt College, was presented with the campus’ annual faculty award for Scholarship and Service because of the excellence of her work with Digital Collections @ Dordt.

“In today’s digital age, it is not enough to merely write, publish, and wait. Digital strategies are needed to ensure that scholarly and created works are freely available worldwide, search-engine optimized, and presented in a manner that is intuitive, natural, and easy to access,” said Dordt College’s Director of Research and Scholarship Dr. Nathan Tintle. “As nominators of Taylor pointed out, while all efforts at Dordt College are a team effort, she in particular has a vision for increasing the impact of the scholarly work of the Dordt community and providing ways to measure this impact has had a dramatic effect.”

Sheryl focused on faculty work as well as the extensive Grotenhuis Music Collection early on, writing of the IR that “I wanted to make sure that both the Provost’s Office and the faculty realized that this was something they couldn’t live without…. It was crucial to get faculty hooked right away (the readership reports and readership maps are awesome).”

We love to highlight your award-winning DC community IRs, and we invite you to let us know at when you have an award we can trumpet!

Portland State University Library Engages Their Mission by Publishing Five New Open Textbooks in Digital Commons

April 28, 2015

“Library Open Textbooks Save Students $23,800” proclaims the Portland State University Library (PSU) press release—and that was only in their first term of use! Five new open textbooks were published in February in their IR, PDXScholar, authored by PSU faculty in order to better serve their student body, a goal in line with their academic mission. They found that Digital Commons could support their mission by making these online PSU-authored materials readily available to students.

Karen Bjork, Digital Initiatives Coordinator at Portland State University Library, emphasizes that “The rising cost of textbooks are a concern for Portland State University students, and open textbooks help decrease those costs. The PSU library is among the growing number of libraries supporting faculty in creating open textbooks and it’s exciting to see the impact of the pilot project.”

Their program “PDX Open: Reducing Student Textbook Costs” funded this project as part of the “ReTHINK PSU Provost’s Challenge.” The development of open education materials are of paramount importance to PSU’s mission of excellence in education.  “The five textbooks were created for courses in Special Education, Japanese, University Studies, Math, and Urban Studies and Planning. Each author or group of authors received $2,500 to create their textbook,” explained PSU.

They elaborated that “PDX Open created, through the Portland State University Library, an open textbook publishing initiative that provided technical and financial support for faculty members to create open textbooks, with the goal of reducing costs for students.” Their IR, PDXScholar, is the platform for this realization of their mission to support student educational opportunities.

Eastern Illinois University Uncovers 15 Concrete Projects Using Faculty Survey—Learn How They Did It!

April 21, 2015

It can be challenging to identify faculty needs in digital scholarship that can be served by the library staff. Bepress created a “faculty needs surveying” tool as a way to uncover these needs. At Eastern Illinois University, Todd Bruns recently piloted our tool to exciting and surprising results.

Pilot survey’s highlights:

  • 35% response rate
  • 100 plus responses
  • 18 departments
  • 15 concrete projects uncovered right off the bat!

These are some of the insights and tips that Todd shared with us to help you get great results as well:

How did you get started with the survey?
My first step for the survey was getting approval from the appropriate parties involved. At EIU, this mainly came from the Provost’s office. Once I talked to them about the value of faculty participation, they were happy to let me have access to two different lists: tenured faculty and non-tenured/adjuncts. The vast majority of responses came from tenured faculty. Our response rate was 35%.

How did you distribute the survey?
My strategy was to send out three emails. In the first email I mentioned that this was the pilot of a nationwide survey to determine changing faculty needs and also mentioned that it was short (10 min). The second email was actually composed by me, but sent out by liaison departments to individual members. The third email was again from me, and I reiterated that the library has a number of tools and services that can support their changing needs and also listed an end-date for the survey.

Do you think the survey is a way to build stronger partnerships with liaison librarians?
Yes! This last year I’ve been working on a new strategy to get liaisons on board. In fact this survey was well-timed to fit into our liaison and faculty strategy. As I mentioned, the second email was actually sent out from our liaison librarians to their individual departments and they were able to tailor the message to projects and needs that they knew spoke to each department.

You had an incredible rate of participation. Any tips?
Admittedly EIU’s “The Keep” is well-known on campus and I’ve gotten to know faculty over the years. However, one thing that was very helpful was having the opportunity to make a presentation at the faculty senate. I also made sure to connect with faculty members in departments that I already had good relationships with.

What did you learn from the survey?
There are a number of faculty on campus that have data management needs, and this was somewhat surprising due to the teaching focus of our campus, and the fact that our Research and Sponsored Programs office actually didn’t believe there was much need for data management support on our campus. We also saw some definite differences between departments on what their digital scholarship needs are – one department would emphasize the importance of dissemination of their work, while another department would consider that unimportant and instead rate organizing their scholarship as a priority.

Can you tell us about the conversations you’ve had since the survey?
Besides opening up dialogues with faculty about managing their data, we were also contacted by our Digital Humanities Committee – they are interested in seeing the survey results. The survey has led to broader discussions about digital scholarship needs, and it has been very beneficial to the library to be positioned at the center of this conversation.

What will you do with survey results?
I’ve been creating what I call “Success & Service Reports” which are specific to individual departments. They highlight the success of the department’s collections and faculty in the repository, and they also identify areas where the repository could be of service to the department. We will be using the survey results to tailor the reports to the faculty’s needs. We’ve also just recently begun exploring using to deposit content from our repository into our learning management system on campus. This is an exciting new use of our repository and could be an area that other institutions want to explore.

We’d like to thank Todd for sharing his success with the community, and for his help in fine-tuning this faculty needs assessment resource. If you would like to use the faculty survey at your institution, please contact bepress Outreach at – we would be delighted to share it with you!

survey screenshot

Primary Campus Resources in IRs Prove Rich Pedagogical Tools

April 14, 2015

Students at Bryant University, Trinity University, and Gettysburg College all found rich primary source materials on their own campuses for quality research projects. Students, faculty, archivists, alumni, and librarians are working collaboratively on projects to document the history of their universities and increase student engagement—all beautifully showcased in the collections below.

The Bryant Goes to War collection has drawn the campus community together and allowed faculty, alumni, and students to play active roles in the project’s success. The collection’s 1,400 World War II letters, rediscovered by Mary F. Moroney, Director of Library Services, after decades in a university basement, became the focus of the “Bryant Goes to War” project showcased in the university’s IR. Judy Barrett Litoff , Bryant University Professor and world renowned expert World War II letters, is now using the Bryant artifacts from this time period to teach students about World War II using primary source materials. Several capstone projects can be found in the IR alongside the relevant letters. According to Patricia Schultz, Technical Services Librarian, the project “…has enabled us to encapsulate Bryant’s legacy, memorialize our alumni, and show how Bryant has grown.”

At Trinity University Repository Administrator and Head of Discovery Services, Jane Costanza, had been eager to feature student work in the repository—Trinity University, Then and Now not only meet that need, but was also an opportunity to educate students about Creative Commons licensing. To create it, student Anh-Viet Dinh first worked with University Archivist Amy Roberson to select archival photos for the class project, which superimposes original historic photos of Trinity’s campus over corresponding photographs of the campus in its current state. The Development Office then incorporated Dinh’s project into an annual fundraising campaign. History Professor Kathryn O’Rourke has students use university records to construct historical narratives for each building featured, seen along with the images in the digital collection. Read more in our blog “Partnership with Library Extends Reach of Student Project at Trinity University.”

The innovative Gettysburg collection Hidden in Plain Sight showcases student papers on objects around the Gettysburg College campus, from the Glatfelter Hall gargoyles to the statue of Eisenhower, utilizing an interactive map feature. The papers and images (with pan and zoom) form an important historical collection for the campus. Professor Birkner, whose class carried out this project, said “I am delighted to know that they are now being made available to a wider audience, thanks to the ingenuity and hard work of a team of librarians.”

Janelle Wertzberger, Co-chair of Digital Commons Working Group & Director of Reference and Instruction, points to Slaves, Soldiers, Citizens: African American Artifacts of the Civil War Era as another Gettysburg project in which special collections were used as a robust pedagogical tool. Students in Professor Scott Hancock’s course “Slavery, Rebellion and Emancipation in the Atlantic” wrote essays on this material which are published in the IR alongside the exhibit and resulting book. In addition, according to Gettysburg’s IR, the “vast collection of art and artifacts related to the Civil War…and the African American struggle for emancipation, citizenship and freedom has proved to be an extraordinary resource for Gettysburg College students.” For example, students in the Art Department investigated public representations of a newly freed population in the exhibit “Art, Artifact, Archive: African American Experiences in the Nineteenth Century”—rich resources indeed.

New bepress Resources: Model Collections Available for Engaging Faculty

April 8, 2015

For Open Access Week last October, we announced a new resource: Model Collections. Organized by discipline, these collections are designed to help you and your liaison or reference librarians further engage faculty with your repository initiative by providing examples of each type of collection that a department might want to showcase. We hope that you and your liaison librarians will share these examples of services the library can offer when presenting to departments.

Over the past few months we have added even more disciplines to the collection, as well as a series of short, 5-minute videos (we’re calling them “weebinars” — yes, you read that correctly — with two “e”s) that walk through each disciplinary collection, pointing out key features. We hope these brief videos will save you time and support your faculty engagement efforts.

We now have collections and accompanying weebinars in the following disciplines:

We hope you find these helpful. Please let us know how you are using them, and what disciplines you would like to see next by emailing us at!

Development Sneak Preview: April 1st, 2015

April 1, 2015

Though we’re releasing new features this Friday, we’ve already been busy working on the next set of improvements to the platforms.  We’re very excited to announce the brand-new slate of features for Digital Commons and SelectedWorks.

What’s coming, at a glance:

  • On-demand global readership
  • Mega-blind peer-review
  • SelectedWorks integration with new social media tools
  • Copyright Compliance
  • New creative commons license: CC-NAEE

On-demand global readership

This is a true story: a library director was showing the readership download map to her provost and at precisely that moment the map showed a reader from Iceland downloading one of the provost’s papers.  As you might imagine, it was a most successful meeting.  Was it Serendipity? Nope.  It is a new program we’ve been piloting called “on-demand global readership.” Through various hub networks across 384 countries and 104,012 cities around the world, you can request a real human reader who will download any article of your choice, at a time you set in advance. Need to impress a dean? Sending your liaison librarian to present to an especially tough department? We’re excited to imagine how you will use this creative new tool.

Mega-blind peer-review

Authors often worry about the anonymity of peer-review, and the risk that rivals and enemies they made at the last conference will end up reviewing and rejecting their paper. They want journals to do better than simple double-blind peer-review. With bepress’s new mega-blind peer-review, your editors will soon have the opportunity to completely anonymize the editorial process through a mega-database of reviewers. Journals will automatically distribute new submissions randomly to any of the thousands of reviewers who have completed reviews for any other journal hosted on Digital Commons. All identifying information such as article topic, editor name, contact information, journal name, and article content, will be withheld. The time has finally come for your authors to feel secure that personal knowledge has been completely eliminated from the peer review process.

SelectedWorks integration with new social media tools

Faculty want one central place to showcase all their downloads, ratings, and impact. We are pleased to bring SelectedWorks even further into modern social networking with an array of new third-party integrations. SelectedWorks profiles will now include feeds from authors’ Facebook pages, Spotify playlists, and Amazon wishlists. For the single scholar, we’ve also worked with developers at OKCupid to enable authors’ dating profiles to be seen alongside their research, showcasing extracurricular interests as well as scholarly achievements. We have also integrated the well-regarded “chili pepper” rating system from the popular “Rate my Professors” site, sure to be a hot new feature with professors from departments across campus.

Copyright compliance

Are your faculty flaunting their responsibility to deposit a copy of their research in the IR?  Have you invested years getting an open access mandate passed, but still you get no compliance from your faculty? The problem is that your mandate lacks “teeth.”  After careful research, our Outreach and Scholarly Communications team has concluded that compliance requires going that extra mile. Let us help you. We’ve got a new service provider who excels at “making offers that can’t be refused,” and together we’ve taken Sherpa/Romeo enforcement in a more hands-on direction. If you’d like to pilot this new service, which we call Sherpa/Gotti, contact and ask for Mike or Al.

New creative common license: CC-NAEE

Creative Commons is a wonderful set of licenses, but based on conversations with faculty and graduate advisers, we’ve recognized a growing need for a new kind of creative common license.  It’s called CC: NAEE (Never Available Ever Ever).  Any work with this license will be unavailable and unusable in perpetuity.  This license will help libraries reach out to departments like English, creative writing, and history, and find new ways not to disseminate their works.  This may also be applicable to other types of content like “student work that we’re just not sure about,” “research data that someone might steal,” and the well-known sensitive area of “papers that someone might plagiarize.”

Happy April Fool’s from bepress!!!

Liaison Librarians Embrace New Roles in Publishing Collections Showcased in Digital Commons @Brockport

March 31, 2015

What are the best practices for inviting liaison librarians to embrace new roles in the IR’s engagement with faculty? Below are tried-and-true suggestions from your peers.

Kim Myers, Digital Repository Specialist at The College at Brockport and a 2014 bepress IR All-Star, offers successful solutions for staffing that develop invaluable feelings of investment and ownership among a broad base of stakeholders both inside and outside the library. A critical part of that ownership comes from the team of liaison librarians who express their excitement to shepherd projects of their own from collections, through curation, to an organized publication showcase. Well beyond a database approach of simply listing recent content, liaison librarians found that the inherent flexibility in the Digital Commons @Brockport platform lets them use their expertise in and passion for designing curated collections. These collections provide context, branding, and personalized organization of scholarship, allowing librarians to support scholarly communications widely on campus through the IR’s suite of services.

In the recent Webinar on Successful Staffing Solutions Kim and members of the team at Brockport’s Drake Memorial Library share strategies that have led to 68% of Brockport’s library staff participating in their institutional repository—all this while seamlessly combining their projects in the IR, Digital Commons @Brockport, with other duties. As Librarian Charles Cowling put it, “I find Digital Commons a very flexible, user-friendly and engaging way to present the story of Brockport. It is very accessible given my other responsibilities.” By giving each librarian ownership of their chosen projects Kim is promoting collaborative investment in the IR, which is the very kernel of a successful IR initiative.

Kim offers five guiding principles on how to make collaborative staffing work for you:

1. Match interest with opportunity – Librarians are passionate about things that are in their collections; give them a chance to work on projects they love and showcase them in the IR.
2. Approach during the quiet season – Often the summer is best to ask a colleague to take on new projects and plan for the year to come.
3. Offer discrete projects – Make it clear and easy to jump in and out.
4. Make it a part of the culture – Include IR work in job descriptions and annual reviews.
5. Show appreciation – In small ways, along with a yearly celebration advertising library success.

Kim explained the collaborative model in which “Each person does a little bit, which adds up to a lot.” In terms of staffing numbers, Kim lists 1½ FTE, with zero IT support needed for Digital Commons as it is a fully hosted solution including unlimited support. She reported that it was easy to make the case to continue with the IR “once it was clear how much good PR it was generating, the ETDs being noticed, and a direct correlation between environmental science master theses used to inform public policy.” She went on to say that “We are always looking for activities that fulfill our service, scholarship requirements for our jobs as librarians, and by serving on committees we can show others the IR.”

Want practical ideas for supporting liaison librarians’ shifting roles? Read on to see concrete examples of Brockport librarians using the IR to participate fully in faculty and student engagement and scholarly communication on campus.

Librarian Debby Ames is passionate about promoting faculty work. Before the repository came along her efforts included adding a “Faculty Publications” subject heading to the catalog records, and a “Faculty Publication” bookplate to the books—both of which reached a limited range of patrons. Debby explained “I was very excited when Digital Commons came along to add cover images and metadata for the faculty titles, so it really highlights the publications….Authors now get emails when their book is downloaded; they get excited about it and send in more books,” growing the repository and promoting faculty scholarship. In addition, because the works are easily retrieved in Google searches (including by subject), the authors often receive emails from scholars worldwide about their books, which they greatly appreciate. In this way, Debby is engaging faculty through the very organization and presentation of the content in the IR, along with the reporting tools built into the system.

Librarian Greg Toth suggests that a “willingness to adapt one’s role to what’s needed” is key, and cites the IR platform as a flexible vehicle with which he can do just this. Greg matched his interest in open access publishing with the opportunity to work with the Journal of Literary Onomastics Studies and the Philosophic Exchange journal, both of which recently went online in the IR to gain a larger audience and cut costs. Greg feels strongly about making the faculty aware of the benefits of OA publishing through the IR, and gets credit for doing this work at his yearly job review. Greg sees the IR as an opportunity for himself and his colleagues to support their constituents by publishing and promoting their work in a highly discoverable OA format.

Librarian Charles Cowling reported previously working with CONTENTdm and Dspace, and said “I found Digital Commons to be a lot more user-friendly to input materials. I find it very easy and friendly to work with bepress.” Charles works periodically on the IR, using discrete projects to engage with DC (such as digitizing yearbooks) and then returns to other work as needed.

Similarly, Librarian Susan Perry found a solution in DC for the “Brockport Believes Essay Project” collection. This is a discrete project where, as Susan put it, she “wanted to show incoming freshman past essays written in the same summer program, and Digital Commons provided the perfect showcase.” Her excitement for this project expanded when the IR allowed her to publish open access all the past student essays, thus inspiring and attracting incoming students.

As Susan put it, “Masters Theses are downloaded thousands of times each month; we feel that Digital Commons is really an outreach program.” The team at Brockport found that the flexibility built into their IR platform allows librarians’ skills to shine—curation, organization, publishing, and promotion of their stakeholder’s scholarship engaging directly with scholarly communication on campus.



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