UH Libraries News

Alternative Textbook Incentive Program Applications Now Open

University of Houston Libraries is now accepting applications for the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program. As part of the University’s initiative to help mitigate the high cost of textbooks for students, the incentive program will award UH instructors who adopt, modify, or create an open or alternative textbook in their courses.

Instructors of record for a Summer 2020, Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 course are encouraged to apply to the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program by February 21, 2020. Awards of between $500 and $2500 will be made based on the estimated financial impact for students, type of alternative textbook project, and overall feasibility of the proposal.

Open educational resources (OER) offer an alternative to the problem of expensive textbooks for students. According to a recent survey conducted by the UH Student Government Association, over 37% of respondents have not purchased a required textbook due to the cost. By shifting to freely accessible and openly licensed teaching and learning tools, including textbooks, more students will have access to course materials, allowing them to be prepared for class on the first day, stay enrolled in the course, and perform better on course assignments. Open and alternative textbooks saved UH students an estimated $2.3 million in two academic years.

For more information, contact oer@uh.edu.

By on December 17th, 2019 in Announcements, Featured, OER

Research Workshops Spring 2020

University of Houston Libraries announces its spring 2020 research workshop series for faculty, staff, and students, offering a variety of research tools and practices. Register

Tableau I – Introduction
Tuesday, January 28, 2020, 10:00am – 11:30am
MD Anderson Library Training Room 106-R
In this workshop, participants will use Tableau Public to create interactive data visualizations. It will cover an overview of the program and provide hands-on experience creating basic charts and maps, as well as creating interactive web-based visualization dashboards. It will also discuss publishing to the Tableau Public web server.

Core Data Management Practices for UH Researchers
Thursday, January 30, 2020, 10:00am – 11:30am
MD Anderson Library Training Room 106-R
This workshop presents the basic elements of data management that are essential for UH researchers in all disciplines. Topics include: Data management plans, file organization and documentation, storage and backup, security, compliance with funder and university policies, data preservation, and archiving.

Tableau II – Calculations and analytics
Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 10:00am – 11:30am
MD Anderson Library Training Room 106-R

In this workshop, participants will use more advanced features in Tableau to manage data, such as join, union and edit data. Participants will also use calculations and parameters to make views more interactive. It will cover analytics to help spot trends and forecast data. Taking Tableau I prior to this workshop is strongly encouraged.

Finding Social Science Data
Thursday, February 6, 2020, 10:00am – 11:30am
MD Anderson Library Training Room 106-R
Participants will be introduced to some library-subscription sources for social science data (including business and sales data) as well as some portals for open data (such as census and demographic data). Participants will also learn tips for finding data and discuss how to evaluate the quality of data sources.

Tableau III—Logical functions and customize dashboard
Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 10:00am – 11:30am
MD Anderson Library Training Room 106-R
In this workshop, participants will learn to use logical functions to determine if certain condition is true or false. It will also cover building customized dashboard to make your visualization more appealing. Taking Tableau I and Tableau II prior to this workshop is strongly encouraged.

Data Archiving and Sharing
Thursday, February 13, 2020, 10:00am – 11:30am
MD Anderson Library Training Room 106-R
Increasingly research funders and academic publishers request or require that we share a portion of our data. This workshop covers a spectrum of sharing and archiving options, discusses considerations for choosing an option, and presents tips and tricks for preparing data for sharing and archiving. The content will be focused on a broad understanding relevant for researchers of all disciplines and at all stages of their academic career.

Introduction to R for Absolute Beginners
Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 10:00am – 12:00pm
MD Anderson Library Training Room 106-R
R is an open source software for statistical computing and graphics. This workshop is for individuals who want to begin to learn this powerful analysis tool but have little or no experience in any programming languages. The first half of this 2-hour workshop will focus on some basic concepts of coding and the second half will feature hands-on activities to learn basic R skills, such as installing R packages, importing files, and exploring data. Some troubleshooting tips and R resources will also be provided.

Finding STEM Data
Thursday, February 20, 2020, 10:00am – 11:30am
MD Anderson Library Training Room 106-R
Participants will be introduced to some library-subscription sources for STEM-related data as well as some portals for open data. Participants will also learn tips for finding data and discuss how to evaluate the quality of data sources.

Selecting Journals for Publishing Your Research
Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 10:00am – 11:30am
MD Anderson Library Training Room 10-G
This hands-on workshop discusses factors that could influence your choice of journals for academic publishing, including journal impact, publish frequency, review process, and other factors. Participants will leave the workshop with resources, handy tools, and strategies for making a good choice for publishing your research.

New Gates to be Installed in M.D. Anderson Library

Plans are underway to implement new security measures at the University of Houston M.D. Anderson Library.

Soon, visitors will find new gates located near the main entrance to the library. Students, faculty and staff will gain access beyond the lobby by swiping their Cougar Card in a card reader at the turnstiles, allowing entry for individuals to pass through. Additionally, arrangements will be made so visitors without a Cougar Card can still access the library. During the upcoming winter break, preparation for the installation of the gates will begin. The gates are set to be installed over the spring holiday week of March 9–14, 2020, and are scheduled for activation during summer 2020.

The additional layer of security is part of the University’s plan to enhance student and public safety on campus while maintaining accessibility for all. M.D. Anderson Library welcomes thousands of visitors every day. While the majority are UH students, borrowers from across the state, international scholars, campus tour groups and K-12 students also visit the library.

“Everyone is welcome in our library,” said dean of UH Libraries Lisa German. “As a research library at a Tier One public research institution, we have a mission to provide resources, services and spaces for our students and for the community at large. Security and accessibility are paramount.”

For more information on campus safety, visit Cougar S.A.F.E.

Texas Arts and Culture Documentaries Added to UH Special Collections

University of Houston Libraries is pleased to announce receipt of a unique collection of materials from Texas Foundation for the Arts.

Archival footage from documentaries written, filmed, and produced by Texas Foundation for the Arts that aired on Houston Public Media (KUHT-TV, Houston PBS) will be added to the Houston and Texas History Research Collection in UH Special Collections. Materials include videotapes and transcripts, research materials, and photos and 35mm slides of Texas historic county courthouses. 

Founded in 2001 by Jim Bailey and Kim Bjork Lykins, Texas Foundation for the Arts’ mission is to capture the uniqueness of Texas arts and culture through the creation of documentary films and other television programming. 

“It is an honor to have our work reside in the UH archives,” said Bailey. “Our programs over the past 20 years include so many interviews and raw footage that never made it into the half-hour and one-hour programs due to television time constraints. We are happy that the b-roll footage and photos and all interviews will be available for everyone to use in perpetuity.”

Award-winning documentaries in the collection include:

Building Bridges of Understanding: Asia Society Texas Center
This film documents the design and construction of the Asia Society Texas Center, designed by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, and examines the Asian community in Texas. The film features on-camera interviews with University of Houston System chancellor and University of Houston president Renu Khator, Nancy Allen, Y. Ping Sun (Rice University), Stephen Klineberg, Charles Foster, and other eyewitnesses and experts on Houston’s Asian community, as well as b-roll scenes of the grand opening activities of the Center and the classic Tiger Ball.

Galveston Island
This documentary about the history and culture of Galveston, once the largest city in Texas and the Wall Street of the Southwest, includes the story of immigration through Galveston. It features rare footage of the destruction of Galveston streets, homes and businesses immediately after Hurricane Ike, as well as modern-day footage of Galveston beaches, the Strand, Bolivar ferry, Mardi Gras, historic homes, Grand 1894 Opera House, the port, cruise ships, churches, Bishop’s Palace, restaurants, and other landmarks. The documentary includes interviews with Joe Jaworski and Barbara Crews (former mayors of Galveston), residents, authors, and historians.

Houston Arts Television
This 30-minute television program features various cultural institutions in Houston including the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and Houston Children’s Chorus, as well as behind-the-scenes visuals at the Menil Collection, Houston’s civic art, Discovery Green, and profiles of individual artists. It includes iconic postcard-type scenes of Houston’s Hermann Park and other locations and interviews with Houston cultural leaders and artists such as Bert Long, Jr.

The Art of Architecture: Houston
This program profiles leading architects and architectural experts and explores modern office towers, public buildings, historic buildings, Houston homes, and quirky sites, all of which combine to create Houston’s unique architectural landscape. Included are  interviews with UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design dean Patricia Oliver, UH and Rice University architectural students, Houston architects, and architectural historian Stephen Fox.

1910 Harris County Courthouse
This documentary features the history and recent restoration of the historic 1910 Harris County Courthouse, including rare video scenes of the building before and during restoration, the completed building showcasing the atrium and dome, and interviews with Harris County archivist Sarah Jackson, author Jim Parsons, architects, attorneys, eyewitnesses, and historians.

“We are so pleased to have these documentaries and other programs produced by Texas Foundation for the Arts to add to our collection,” said Vince Lee, UH Special Collections archivist. “These films are an important record of Houston and Texas history.”

The collection is currently being processed. For questions about materials in this collection or to request access, contact Vince Lee.

By on November 27th, 2019 in Announcements

UH Libraries Receives $100,000 Gift for OER

University of Houston Libraries has received an anonymous gift of $100,000 to support the expansion of open educational resources (OER).

OER are teaching and learning tools, either in the public domain or released with an open license, that anyone can freely use and re-purpose. As universities across the U.S. have embraced OER, academic libraries have become central to the adoption of open educational materials in the classroom.

Commercial textbook costs have risen more than four times the rate of inflation over the past few decades, which have both financial and academic impact on many University of Houston students. A survey conducted by the UH Student Government Association found that over 37% of UH students reported not purchasing a required textbook due to cost.

While expensive textbooks prevent students from accessing course materials, OER provide free and immediate access to course materials, allowing students to be prepared on the first day of class, earn better grades, and stay enrolled in the course.

To help eliminate this barrier to student success, UH Libraries has created the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP) for faculty to adopt OER for their curricula. Co-sponsored by the UH Office of the Provost, ATIP provides awards to faculty who take steps to implement an open or alternative textbook. In the 1st year of ATIP, 16 projects were awarded, resulting in student cost savings of over $203,000 for the 2018-19 academic year. In the 2nd year, 23 projects were awarded, with projected student cost savings of over $757,000 for the 2019-20 academic year.

ATIP is part of the burgeoning OER initiatives at UH. Ariana Santiago, open educational resources coordinator at UH Libraries, facilitates outreach and education for faculty on OER-related topics, and coordinates a growing community of practice on OER.

“This significant gift will allow UH Libraries to expand the OER program to improve the academic experience of our students,” said dean of UH Libraries Lisa German. “With this donation, we’ll be able to increase incentives for faculty who implement OER and increase the opportunity for students to academically succeed.”

By on November 26th, 2019 in Announcements, Featured, OER, Student Success

Paws and Relax Fall 2019

Local organization Faithful Paws will bring certified therapy dogs to the MD Anderson Library for three sessions of end-of-semester stress relief. Drop in for petting, snuggling and treat-feeding with these gentle and friendly canines.

Paws and Relax

Paws and Relax

  • Monday, December 2: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. (concurrent with Finals Mania) 106-T and Liaison Services, behind Red Elevators
  • Tuesday, December 3: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. 106-T and 2nd floor
  • Wednesday, December 4: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. 106-T and 2nd floor
By on November 19th, 2019 in Announcements, Featured, Student Success

New Exhibit: TX Women, Music, and Feminism

Celebrating the independent spirit and expression of Texas women, musicians, and feminists, the archives in the exhibit complement the November 18 TX Women in Rock panel, which is part of the Barbara Karkabi Living Archives Series.

TX Women, Music, and Feminism

TX Women, Music, and Feminism

One case features items donated to UH Special Collections from Mydolls (1978-present), a women-led, post-punk band from Houston, Texas. Other materials include second-wave and anarcha-feminist publications from the 1970s, originally exhibited at UH Libraries by collection donor Nancy Agin Dunnahoe of Wild Dog Archive.

The exhibit will be on display for a limited time on the second floor of MD Anderson Library near Special Collections.

“I AM A MAN” Exhibit Extended

An exhibit featuring the work of eminent photojournalist Ernest C. Withers (1922-2007), “I AM A MAN,” now on display at the University of Houston M.D. Anderson Library, has been extended through November 15.

"I AM A MAN" exhibit

“I AM A MAN” exhibit

Withers was a freelance photojournalist based in Memphis, Tennessee who documented six decades of American culture. His photos appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Tri-State Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier, Jet, Ebony, and others, and have been exhibited globally.

While his body of work, estimated at 1.8 million photos, spans musicians, athletes, and US presidents to scenes of everyday life, “I AM A MAN” focuses on Withers’ collection of images from the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibit presents powerful depictions of the NAACP Main Street protests, Tent City, March Against Fear, and the Poor People’s March on Washington, as well as memorials for Martin Luther King Jr.

Related: Exhibition of Civil Rights-Era Photographs Comes to UH

“I AM A MAN” was originally planned to end on November 3, and in continuing the exhibit for two additional weeks, UH Libraries dean Lisa German hopes more of the UH community will have an opportunity to view the images, located on the second floor of M.D. Anderson Library.

“I am very grateful that Dean Tillis from CLASS and the Links, Incorporated Houston Chapter brought this exhibit to our university,” German said. “I encourage all UH students to visit the M.D. Anderson Library and experience the work of Ernest C. Withers. His photographs are incredibly powerful and very moving.”

Sponsored Projects Call for Proposals

The Digital Research Commons (DRC) invites members of the University of Houston community to submit proposals for sponsored projects to run for the calendar year 2020. The DRC collaborates with researchers on projects involving digital techniques across the humanities, social sciences, and experimental sciences.

This cycle, the DRC will offer grants at two levels, designed to address projects at different levels of development. The first level, designed to help projects at the seed stage of development, will offer funding up to $5000. The second, designed to develop projects that have already made demonstrable progress, will offer funding up to $12,500.

We are looking for teams or individuals, experts and novices alike, who have a project that they would like to develop. This can either be a project that is already underway or one not yet begun. Prior knowledge of digital tools and techniques is welcome but not necessary. We work with our project members to help them organize their information, analyze it, and produce compelling results.

The DRC team will help you craft your proposal and, if your project is accepted, will help find training for team members who need it. We welcome submissions from faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. Accepted applicants will work with the DRC to build their projects into working prototypes. We especially encourage applications focused on collections in UH Libraries Special Collections.

Contact DRC with questions at drc@uh.edu. Apply by December 8th.

How to Apply
Proposals, due via email to drc@uh.edu by December 8, should include:

    1. A 2-3 sentence abstract of the proposed project, including whether the proposal is for a seed or a development grant, and why
    2. A list of your project team members and brief descriptions of roles
    3. A budget for the calendar year, either up to $5000 or up to $12,500, depending on whether the proposal is for a seed or a development grant, and a rationale for each item
    4. A project description (no more than 1000 words) answering the following questions:
      • What is the primary research question driving this project?
      • What is the main contribution your project will make to scholarship?
      • Who is your intended audience?
      • What do you intend to be the final product completed under this grant?
      • If applying for a development grant, please describe your work on the project to date.

If you are a graduate student, please include a statement about how this project aligns with your thesis topic and research/writing schedule.

Dean’s Fall Luncheon

University of Houston Libraries hosted the Dean’s Fall Luncheon this month at the MD Anderson Library Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion, celebrating the philanthropy of UH Libraries’ friends and supporters.

Dean of Libraries Lisa German with Joe Duff of TPC Group

Dean of Libraries Lisa German with Joe Duff of TPC Group

Archivists from UH Special Collections displayed selected materials from various collecting areas.

View photos from the luncheon.