UH Libraries News

New Digital Photo Tech

Marian Smith

Marian Smith

University of Houston Libraries welcomes Marian Smith as the new digital photo tech with responsibilities for the digitization and quality control of Theses and Dissertation Digitization (TDD) project documents.

Please describe your role at UH Libraries and talk about some of your professional goals.

My role is to digitize theses and dissertations that are only accessible in physical print so they can be accessed remotely. This means working with a dedicated student worker to disbind (remove the cover and binding) withdrawn thesis and dissertation books, scan them using a feed scanner, edit the images, and run them through optical character recognition (OCR) to make the documents word searchable. I am working with a variety of wonderful people who handle different sections of this project to tweak the current processes in place to both make things easier for everyone, and to make the document output as accessible as possible. This opportunity has allowed me to take my past experiences and play them out on a larger scale, as well as expand my knowledge in the field.

Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as a librarian?

I am a recent graduate with an MS in Library Science, Archival Studies and Imaging Technology from the University of North Texas College of Information, and previously worked at Sterling Municipal Public Library primarily as a shelver, but I had the awesome opportunity to work on digitizing a variety of items for them as well, such as original City Minutes, and local historical documents. I have always been fascinated by internet born and hosted materials, as well as the transformation of print materials into digital items, and the host of pros and problems that come with said materials. People always say the internet is forever, but really, it is only on the internet forever if someone takes the time to ensure it is. This fascination has led me here, where I can contribute to creating content for people to use and learn from, and work on making said content as accessible and longstanding as possible.

What is your first impression of the University?

First impressions back on campus was me being treated to an eagerness to help and friendliness when I first walked into day one orientation. It was also odd (in a good way) to be going through orientation as a staff member and not as a student, as I graduated with my BBA in Supply Chain Management from the UH C. T. Bauer College of Business several years ago. Despite being caught in the transition of full online to in-person on-boarding, and getting tangled in said transition at times, everyone has been extremely kind and helpful in getting me set up with what I need to move forward. I am looking forward to continuing to work with such wonderful people here in the library!

What is your favorite hobby/cuisine/book/movie/TV show?

I am a crafty sort of person, dabbling in a variety of hand crafts, though lately I have been mainly crocheting and slowly getting back into sketching. Food is also a big facet of my life, with a love for baking (be it bread or a variety of sweets, it’s all great), and large family dinners (though not as large or often as we used to considering the current affairs). I am slowly returning to reading for fun (besides finding neat articles relating to archiving items digital born), and tend to read science fiction or urban fantasy.

By on September 21st, 2021 in Announcements, Featured

Sewing Workshop Series

University of Houston students are encouraged to register for upcoming sewing workshops provided by UH Libraries Makerspace specialists.

This is a beginner’s sewing workshop series to learn basic sewing skills. During this three-part course, participants will learn how to sew an Among Us plushie. The workshops will be held on-site and virtually. Each workshop will be 3 hours.

The series begins on September 15 and will continue each Wednesday through October 6, from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

By on September 10th, 2021 in Announcements, Featured, Workshops

Boehm Selected for Early Career Librarian Fellowship

Reid Boehm

Reid Boehm

Reid Boehm, PhD, research data management librarian at University of Houston Libraries, is the 2021 recipient of the Rooks Early Career Librarian Fellowship.

The fellowship endowment was established by former UH Libraries dean Dana Rooks and spouse Charles W. (Mickey) Rooks, PhD and is designated to support a UH librarian in professional development and research opportunities, such as memberships, conference fees, travel costs, research assistance, specialized equipment, and technology.

“Receiving this fellowship is an honor and a wonderful opportunity to expand my research interests with resources and a three-year plan of action while also working to strengthen research data management (RDM) services and better advocate for researchers at UH,” Boehm said. “My hope is to expand this to the greater RDM community in scholarship, leading to some gradual shifts in service practices.”

Boehm’s research addresses gaps between funder data management requirements for research grant projects and the resources available to academic researchers. Often funders and RDM practitioners approach requirements from the scholarly defined ideals presented in the data science and library and information science disciplines. While this is the ultimate aim, Boehm’s focus is on what researchers are experiencing in reality. The goal is to learn more about these gaps pertaining to how the University and other public Research 1 academic institutions work with researchers. With attention to context in service and training, by learning from research partners instead of simply presenting best practices, there is greater potential to increase advocacy and communicate more clearly to funders about these realities.

Boehm holds a PhD in Information Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she studied information equity and methods for evaluating government agency information on complex problems such as Colony Collapse Disorder and Livestock Identification for all citizens. Boehm became interested in data management and curation while working with a NASA data archive and later as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Notre Dame Library. Prior to UH Libraries, Boehm worked as a data management consultant at Johns Hopkins University.

UH Libraries Spaces

Welcome to University of Houston Libraries! Take a quick video tour of our public spaces.

Take a video tour of University of Houston Libraries.

Take a video tour of University of Houston Libraries.

Associate Dean Lehner to Retire

John Lehner

After more than 22 years of service at UH Libraries, John Lehner will retire effective October 1.

John Lehner, associate dean for resource management at University of Houston Libraries, announced his retirement effective October 1.

Lehner joined UH Libraries in 1998 as the human resources director, overseeing searches for librarian positions and streamlining the search process. In 2006, Lehner stepped into his current role, administering the budget, facilities, and business operations of the Libraries, as well as directing library technology services, metadata and digitization services, library human resources, and assessment and statistics. He was promoted to the rank of librarian in 2013, and two years later, was appointed to the Ambassador Kenneth R. Franzheim Endowed Professorship.

“John has served the Libraries laudably,” said Athena Jackson, dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. “He exemplifies unwavering dedication to the University and the profession, and is a model of collegiality and advocacy that extends well beyond the Libraries. I’d like to thank John for his service and wish him the best on his well-earned retirement.”

Prior to UH Libraries, Lehner was chair of the Academic Program Support Division at Arizona State University West Library; and business, economics, and law bibliographer at University at Albany-SUNY Libraries. Lehner’s previous professional experience includes the Palm Beach Countywide Planning Council and Palm Beach County Planning, Zoning and Building Department as executive director.

Lehner’s prolific service to the profession of librarianship includes committee chair appointments within the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the American Library Association (ALA), Texas Library Association (TLA), and other organizations. He has served on a number of university and library committees with charges related to personnel searches, strategic planning, and building projects. He has published and presented on research areas such as recruitment and retention in academic libraries, personnel selection, and emotional intelligence.

Lehner holds a Master of Library Science degree from University at Albany-SUNY, Master of Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, Master of Business Administration from Tulane University, Master of City Planning from University of Pennsylvania, Juris Doctor from Washington University School of Law, and Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work for outstanding deans, and the pleasure of working with outstanding colleagues,” Lehner said. “I will miss the excitement of working in such a dynamic organization. I am leaving UH with gratitude for the wonderful professional opportunities I’ve had here.”

By on September 2nd, 2021 in Announcements, Featured

Digital Humanities Social Hour Series

University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons will continue to host its Digital Humanities Social Hour series during the fall 2021 semester. The UH community is invited to join via Zoom each Friday at 12 noon to learn about current digital research and teaching happening at the University and ways to collaborate. Feel free to bring a lunch.

Contact the DRC for the Zoom link and passcode.

Arduino Workshop Series

Students are encouraged to register for the University of Houston Libraries Arduino workshop series, taught by Makerspace specialist Bernard Li.

The Arduino is the most affordable and accessible microcontroller available. It has the ability to accomplish almost all simple electronic projects, including building robots, and is the perfect introduction to programming in C++.

The five workshops offer an introduction to Arduino from scratch so you can build your robot or class project, or just improve your home – without any programming experience needed.

The series begins on September 7 and will continue each Tuesday through October 5, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

By on August 31st, 2021 in Announcements, Featured, Spaces, Workshops

$75K Gift to Support Open Educational Resources

University of Houston Libraries has received a gift of $75,000 from the John P. McGovern Foundation, designated for 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. OER at UH began in 2017 in response to advocacy from the Student Government Association regarding textbook affordability concerns. Commercial textbook costs have risen dramatically over the past few decades, with both financial and academic impact on many UH students. 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.

Dr. Paula Myrick Short, UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, introduced the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP). In partnership with the Office of the Provost, UH Libraries implemented ATIP, which awards instructors who adopt OER in their courses, replacing commercial textbooks with OER and/or the use of freely available or library-owned resources. Since 2018, ATIP has provided three rounds of funding for faculty who have adopted alternative textbooks, benefitting a total of 10,171 students and saving an estimated $1,183,564 in student textbook fees.

Additionally, instructors are afforded flexibility and customization through OER to produce course content that is appropriate, updated and diverse. Faculty have reported improvements in student preparation, engagement, and learning outcomes in connection with increased access to materials.

“I was thrilled to learn about this gift to the Libraries to support OER, an initiative I have known to be crucial for access to course materials for many of our students,” Short said. “The McGovern Foundation’s support emphasizes the ongoing achievements of this program and provides essential funding for its enduring success.” 

With the McGovern gift, UH Libraries is empowered to better support faculty who take on the workload of preparing their own course materials. 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. “The generous donation from the McGovern Foundation will allow UH Libraries to increase incentives for faculty who adopt OER,” Santiago said. “Providing free and immediate access to course materials makes higher education more affordable and improves the academic experience for our students.”

“This gift from the McGovern Foundation allows us to strengthen the great progress of this critical program,” said Athena Jackson, dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. “UH Libraries remains dedicated to Provost Short’s student success initiatives which enable us to scale our efforts and ensure the broadest level of partnerships across campus.”

By on August 27th, 2021 in Announcements, Featured, OER

Call for Applications: Alternative Textbook Incentive Program

University of Houston Libraries is now accepting applications for the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP). 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 are encouraged to apply to ATIP by October 15, 2021. Awards of between $1,000 and $5,000 will be made based on the estimated financial impact for students, projected student impact, and overall feasibility of the proposal.

Open educational resources (OER) offer an alternative to the problem of expensive textbooks for students. Studies* show that 65% of college students skip buying textbooks 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. 

UH faculty are encouraged to attend an upcoming information session to learn about the incentive program and the benefits of alternative textbooks. Ariana Santiago, open educational resources coordinator, is available by appointment to discuss implementing open textbooks in the classroom and the support provided through the incentive program.

Please contact us at oer@uh.edu for more information.

*Fixing the Broken Textbook Market: Third Edition

Textbook Broke: Textbook Affordability as a Social Justice Issue

2018 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey

By on August 27th, 2021 in Announcements, Featured, OER

REACH Connects Undergrads with Humanities Research

University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons and UH Special Collections are collaborating with UH Honors College and UH Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards on a new program that facilitates project-based experience in the digital humanities for undergraduates.

The Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH) program is an introductory research program for students in the humanities supported by a grant from the Cougar Initiative to Engage. REACH participants receive a $1,500 scholarship to carry out undergraduate research and contribute to an existing project at UH during the 2021 – 2022 academic year.

Created to give undergraduates first-hand research experience, REACH projects range from community activism to archival preservation to drafting biographies and conducting oral histories. REACH participants will develop research skills with the help of a mentor and through related programming offered by UH Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards, and will present their research at Undergraduate Research Day in April 2022.

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors in humanities disciplines are invited to apply by September 7.