University of Houston Libraries is hosting the National Library of Medicine (NLM) traveling exhibition, Confronting Violence: Improving Women’s Lives/Enfrentando La Violencia: mejorando la vida de las mujeres, from September 25 – December 4 at the Health Sciences Library.
The NLM Traveling Exhibitions program lends displays to libraries and cultural institutions focusing on history, society, and medicine. Curated from NLM collections, traveling exhibitions highlight historical and contemporary themes in public health and connect viewers to sources of health information scholarship and literacy.
The Confronting Violence/Enfrentando La Violencia display comprises twelve vertical banners in English and Spanish that highlight the front-line role of nurses in the 1970s to identify victims of domestic violence and meet their needs. Nurses’ efforts to uplift the voices of survivors led to a national movement of empowerment, advocacy, and education on domestic violence, centering the experiences of survivors and leading to a focus on prevention throughout the latter part of the 20th century.
“NLM has curated the exhibition with amazing resources and great empathy,” said Athena N. Jackson, dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. “I’m honored to host this experience for the UH community, facilitating heightened awareness of a powerful and sobering public health topic.”
Visitors may view the exhibition at the Health Sciences Library in the Health 2 building. An online exhibit is also available. The National Library of Medicine produced this exhibition and companion website.
This summer, a group of faculty at University of Houston achieved Badge 1: Foundations of Digital Humanities (DH) Project Development, a component of the inaugural Micro-credential in the DH program. Led by UH Libraries and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute (HPE DSI), the micro-credential represents the educational element of the joint Digital Humanities Core (DHC) initiative.
The program was designed to address scholarship priorities at UH by researchers, for researchers.
“The DHC is part of the University’s investment in expanded infrastructure for interdisciplinary research – in particular, for research that addresses timely and complex societal problems,” said Taylor Davis-Van Atta, head of Research Services at UH Libraries. “The curriculum incorporates strategies around project planning and development, understanding data collection and management processes, and issues of labor and funding in a methodical way, while taking into consideration the particular context of a researcher, and recognizing there are different timescales, incentive structures, and disciplinary norms in play.”
Tenure-track or promotion-eligible non-tenure track faculty interested in building and securing funding for a public or digital humanities project completed Badge 1 with a plan and proposal in place.
“As researchers, we know our best strength is our relationship to the research we do,” said Linda García Merchant, PhD, public humanities data librarian. “Faculty have amazing ideas for projects—content development is never an issue. What our micro-credential program does for researchers is scaffold the practice of DH into planning and funding the three phases of project development: discovery, prototyping, and production, giving researchers a manageable approach to DH scholarship.”
“This partnership between the Libraries and the HPE Data Science Institute has been very productive and satisfying and also shows the value of having a core facility in DH,” said Claudia Neuhauser, PhD, interim vice chancellor/vice president for research and director of HPE DSI. “The testimonies of the participants of our summer micro-credential program clearly show the value of this structured program to give our researchers the tools to effectively develop and carry out research projects in the DH.”
For Melody Yunzi Li, PhD, assistant professor in Chinese Studies at UH, the program helped to boost her project, which examines anti-Asian racism during the pandemic in 2021 using Storymap as a technological and educational tool. Being a part of the micro-credential cohort inspired Professor Li to think about DH on a new level, through readings, group discussions, and public lectures on relevant topics.
“I am honored to be part of the first cohort,” Li said. “Linda and her team are very knowledgeable in building the DH projects/program and this is a great start to a fantastic institutional program. It’s important to build a DH infrastructure for the school.”
The micro-credential program in DH fills a critical need for incorporating tech into research and teaching, particularly its structure of continued support throughout the journey.
David Mazella, associate professor in the department of English, immediately applied to the program when he learned it was open, inspired by the prospect of direction and support to move his project forward. It’s a study of authors, genres, and events depicted through English-language texts published in three British Atlantic cities, London, Edinburgh, and Philadelphia, within the target year.
“My project has been in progress for several years, and I’ve used successive teams of undergrads and library experts to help build up the datasets and visuals grounding one peer-reviewed article, with others in progress,” Mazella said. “Building datasets and interpreting data generally requires a PI directing a team, often a team of student researchers, as well as specific expertise (e.g., visualizations, data wrangling, website construction) unlikely to be found in a single individual.”
The micro-credential in DH program is essential to bring scalability and efficiency to the pursuit of DH projects such as this, and subsequently, recognition of high-impact work and funding support.
“The micro-credential program is important because UH, like most schools, needs to be able to make DH research and teaching, which is importantly collaborative, multidisciplinary and problem-driven, work at a larger and more sustainable scale,” Mazella noted.
Jo McIntosh, a PhD candidate in literature, lauded the program for its collegial structure. “After days two and three of ideation and data management planning, I had a structure and timeline for my integrated literature and DH dissertation, including with whom to meet and what to ask for and share in those meetings,” she said. “That crystallized over the following two days, and in Week 2, I felt both a sense of confidence about the meaningfulness of my dissertation project and confidence that I can apply for external funding.”
McIntosh, whose project involves the first digital-born critical edition of the first known text of its kind written and published by a woman in English, Mary Wroth’s The First Part of the Countess of Montgomery’s Urania, was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of applicable knowledge and continued access to DH guidance she received from Badge 1. “Grants were a magical unknown that I thought I might get a chance to learn about—someday,” she shared. “However, the access to software, grant application learning and support plus the follow-up appointments with Dr. García Merchant are elements of choosing UH to do my doctoral work that I did not anticipate.”
A pilot plan for customized micro-credential in DH programs for classes of graduate students will begin in fall 2023, and classes of undergraduate students will begin in spring 2024.
“The training will prepare students to assume places within project teams and contribute not only to a particular project but to the broader cohorts of scholars who are emerging from this program at all levels,” said Davis-Van Atta. “The DHC will also be introducing new resourcing and programming targeted at infrastructural and project support over the course of this academic year.”
The following is a guest post contributed by Open Educational Resources Librarian Kate McNally Carter.
Dr. Melody Yunzi Li, assistant professor of Chinese in the University of Houston College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, collaborated with the UH Libraries department of Open Education Services to create the first volume of a student-authored dictionary of Chinese popular culture terms.
Students in the spring 2023 Chinese Popular Culture course each defined three popular culture terms for their midterm assignments and were invited to contribute their work to this digital open educational resource (OER). This was the second successful collaboration with Dr. Li, following the development of another student-authored textbook for her Tales of East Asian Cities course last fall.
Both courses employed open pedagogy, a teaching approach that envisions students as co-creators of knowledge by inviting them to openly license and publish the work they produce in their courses. Open pedagogy emphasizes student agency by giving students control over whether and how their work is shared, and how they are credited as authors. This practice enables students to critique information ownership and the process of knowledge production, providing a greater understanding of the nuances of intellectual property and their responsibilities and rights as authors.
“Students benefit from research-oriented and self-directed teaching styles,” Li noted. “Incorporating OER into the course assignments and inviting students to participate in the open publishing process gives them perspective on the value of their contributions to knowledge in the field. Students are so engaged in the trends of Chinese popular culture, so it’s exciting to see them integrate their interests into their coursework.”
Open Educational Resources Librarian Kate McNally Carter supported the course by creating instructional videos and providing technical support for students, who used the Pressbooks platform to write and publish their assignments. Ariana Santiago, Head of Open Education Services, also provided consultative support at the outset of the project, helping shape the parameters of the assignment.
“We are excited about the opportunities presented by innovative teaching methods like open pedagogy,” Santiago said. “Open pedagogy is a unique teaching practice, because it encourages students to participate in co-creation of open educational resources. In this way, it helps students see themselves as authors who have valuable knowledge and experiences they are bringing with them to the classroom, and it invites them to contribute that knowledge to the teaching and learning commons.”
Collaborations with Dr. Li’s courses have enabled the Open Education Services department to explore how to support courses using open pedagogical practices. In these pilot courses, Santiago and Carter provided consultative, instructional, and technical support around the open pedagogy projects. Working with these courses in face-to-face and online modalities has enabled them to adopt effective strategies to teach students about open licensing, publishing content through Pressbooks, and appropriately citing and attributing other open resources.
One of the most important aspects of open pedagogy is preserving student agency over their work. In Dr. Li’s courses, students could elect to publish their work under an open license, allowing others to reuse and redistribute their work under the conditions of the selected license, or retain all rights with a traditional copyright license. They could also select how their name would appear in the textbook, use a pseudonym, or completely opt out of including their work in the published textbook.
“Students should be empowered to make informed decisions about whether and how they would like to share their work, and a large part of what OES does is make sure that instructors are aware of best practices for providing students with those choices,” Santiago said. “We can help facilitate this process and provide guidance about the most appropriate approach based on the assignment.”
Open pedagogy can be used for a variety of different assignments. “Instructors can give their students renewable assignments, which can be any type of assignment that has the potential to be used by others for teaching and learning purposes,” Carter explained. “When instructors invite students to share their work with an open license, this gives students an opportunity to contribute their resources to other instructors and learners, which benefits the learning of their peers.”
“This means that open pedagogy can be a particularly beneficial teaching approach for instructors who have a hard time finding updated educational resources,” Carter added. “Students are already creating educational materials in many of their assignments. Instructors can intentionally design their assignments to help students build on each other’s knowledge. Inviting students to give back to their current and future peers can make the educational experience more rewarding.”
The Open Education Services department is eager to grow this area of support. “We hope to continue supporting instructors with similar projects,” Santiago noted. To learn more about open publishing and open pedagogy, contact the Open Education Services department by emailing email@example.com.
In 2027, University of Houston will celebrate its centennial. As this auspicious milestone nears, students, alumni, faculty, staff, and supporters are working together to honor the University’s rich history as a mission-driven institution shaped by forward-thinking stakeholders. An exhibit at MD Anderson Library, opening in September 2023, will feature pivotal points from 100 years of distinction.
Agents of Change: Celebrating Innovation at the UH Centennial is part of a three-year storytelling collaboration between UH Center for Public History, UH Libraries, and Houston Public Media. The 100 Years of Stories project was made possible through a gift from Carey C. Shuart, a Houstonian and supporter of art, education, and women’s causes throughout the region.
The exhibit is the culmination of a partnership aiming to engage UH students in collecting, sharing, and preserving notable narratives of UH and its people.
In 1927, Houstonians were eager for higher education that fit the lifestyle of working adults and served the needs of a growing city. Emboldened by a spirit of innovation, students, faculty, and members of the community shaped University of Houston into the trailblazing institution it is today. Over almost 100 years, these agents of change have led UH on its journey from a junior college to a major, urban research university. Along the way, they expanded access to higher education and increased diversity, brought innovative approaches to learning, and created an institution that has had a strong impact on both local and global communities.
Jesus Sanchez, a graduate student in history, was one of the scholars to work on the 100 Years project which included exhibit planning and design, archival research and selection, and metadata writing. In organizing and cataloging historical documents, photos, and artifacts that connected with Agents of Change, Sanchez discovered prevailing themes in the primary source materials.
“University of Houston is a college for the people of Houston, regardless of race, gender, wealth, or religion,” Sanchez noted. “I saw how students impacted UH, and how they became influential figures, like Maria Jimenez, who worked tirelessly to help vulnerable communities decades after her years as an activist at UH during the 1970s.”
The project gave Sanchez, who wants to become a historian, practical insights. “I had no experience, and learning more about the field and seeking guidance from experts in archival work was very helpful,” he said.
Cady Hammer also worked on the project as a student curator during her first semester at UH.
“I was excited when I got the syllabus and saw that we would be formulating the concept and major elements of the 100 Years of Stories exhibit,” Hammer said. “This was the first direct interaction I had with exhibit development, which is something I would love to do in my career.”
The overarching concept that guided the exhibit, the “big idea,” was categorized into three UH eras: its founding, expansion, and contemporary community impact.
“My classmates and I found that this concept worked best for incorporating key stories that the Center for Public History wanted to represent in the exhibit,” Hammer noted. Class members selected items that would fit with the focus of each era and wrote descriptions. The impact of activism and advocacy at UH was a significant theme that emerged from the archives. “So many of the biggest changes at UH were student-driven,” Hammer said. These improvements “signified the power of young people banding together to accomplish an important goal.”
Archives curation offers interesting contextual lines of inquiry. Hammer offers this advice to other students: “Learn how to read between the lines. No matter what you’re researching, there are at least two stories to every document. The first one is the story on the page. You can pull facts, people, and events from it easily. The second is the story hidden in the details of the document and how they connect to other materials. Some of the most important points of a document are the voices that have been left out of the narrative.”
Alec Story noted that talking to librarians and archivists who curate the collections at UH Special Collections is a good first step when working with primary source materials. “Going into your research with a strong line of inquiry and a curious mind will help uncover truly incredible documents,” he said. “As we worked on this project it became clear that University of Houston has an unpretentious and humble legacy. UH challenges the notion of what a university is supposed to look like.”
Agents of Change will be on display at MD Anderson Library from September 2023 through May 2024. The opening will accompany the launch of the fall 2023 issue of Houston History, published by the Center for Public History. The exhibit is being produced collaboratively between UH Libraries Special Collections, UH Libraries Preservation and Reformatting, and UH Center for Public History.
Your Cougar Card is the easiest, fastest way to access MD Anderson Library. All University of Houston students, faculty, and staff are required to use your physical Cougar Card for entry to MD Anderson Library through the security turnstiles. You may swipe your card through the magnetic reader or tap the proximity card sensor.
To enter with a valid government-issued photo ID, sign in at the security officer desk (at the left of the turnstiles).
Non-UH visitors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult with a valid photo ID.
An important change in access to EBSCO journal and database content has been activated, affecting direct links in syllabi, handouts, bookmarks, and other course materials.
Your saved links expire August 31, 2023. To ensure continued access, UH faculty are encouraged to immediately update any direct links in your materials (instructions below). This includes the affected databases, and any links or “permalinks” you may have used to access full text articles or journals that are provided through these EBSCO databases.
We regret the timing of this update, however EBSCO recently informed us that, due to a licensing change that goes into effect September 1, 2023, all of our links must be updated. Links are already updated on Libraries systems, including the website, subject and class guides, and course reserves. UH Libraries remains committed to ensuring continued access to this critical content and is working quickly to ensure seamless access through our systems for the beginning of the semester.
Update your saved links using the following steps below:
Update direct links to individual databases
Step 1: Access the Libraries’ A-Z databases list
Step 2: Find the database you intend to use and access from there
Update links for journals
Step 1: Access the Libraries’ Journal Title search
Step 2: Search for the journal title of interest
Step 3: Click on the Permalink button on the journal record, and copy the link
Update links for articles
Step 1: Access the article via the search box on the Libraries’ homepage
Step 2: Search for the article title of interest and select it
Step 3: Click on the Permalink button on the article record, and copy the link
Journals and articles may be available from multiple vendor platforms or providers. For example, a specific journal may be provided by EBSCO, ProQuest, etc.; you may have multiple options to link to when performing these searches.
While rare, certain kinds of hyperlinks (such as saved filtered searches) may need to be manually recreated to ensure correct link resolution, and these suggestions do not cover all hyperlinks that may be impacted. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate your understanding at this busy time in the year and we wish you a great start of the new semester.
The UH Institutional Repository will be undergoing a routine upgrade from August 14-18, 2023. During this time, works in the repository will still be accessible for viewing and download, but no new content will be added to the repository.
Full functionality, including the ability to add content to the repository, will be restored once the migration has concluded.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Libraries at email@example.com.
University of Houston Libraries welcomes Imani Spence as the new student success librarian in the department of Teaching and Learning.
Please describe your role at UH Libraries. How does your work align with the student success priorities of the University?
As student success librarian, I’ll be teaching instruction sessions to students and other librarians. I’ll be learning and researching ways to make students more successful on campus. For me, that means considering the issues that students may have in and out of the classroom. I hope to teach information literacy sessions with both undergraduate and graduate students. Ideally, my instruction will encourage students to see faculty as their partner in graduation and not their adversary. My undergraduate education was a bit overwhelming for me so I hope that my instruction will give students the tools to advocate for themselves and what they need to graduate confidently!
Please share a bit about your background and research interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as a librarian?
I am coming to Houston from Baltimore, Maryland where I spent most of my life. I was born at the University of Michigan and most of my extended family is in the Detroit region. Growing up, I was homeschooled for a short period of time which really informs the ways that I approach teaching and school generally because I know how valuable it is to have individualized accommodations and instruction. In Baltimore, I worked a bit in local media, first as a public radio producer then as an arts and culture reporter. In each of these roles, I tried to bring more information about the rich literary history of Baltimore. In May 2022, I graduated with my MLIS from the University of Maryland, College Park (UMDCP). While at College Park I completed the research and teaching fellowship which allowed me to teach information literacy sessions to first year students and work within the teaching and learning department at UMDCP. The fellowship helped me feel confident in my instruction skills and showed me the value of taking care of yourself while serving a large university community.
What are one or two things you’d like faculty and students to know about working with a student success librarian?
I want to learn from faculty and students! Since this is my first university librarian position, I am hoping to approach teaching and working with faculty as a great learning experience. It is important to remember that the teaching and learning department is small so advance notice for instruction sessions is really helpful. Faculty should also consider that the library’s function on campus has expanded and grown! A librarian is more than just a person who is in the books, we are people who are interested in guiding and ushering in new research. I know that sessions from librarians in my studies made me feel more connected to all the resources available to me on campus. If you’re hoping to give students library instruction but not sure how to insert it into your syllabus, reach out in advance and I’m happy to brainstorm with you.
Since its launch in late 2022, ChatGPT has inspired much discourse on potential gains and perceived pitfalls surrounding its use, particularly in academic productivity and scholarly research. The generative artificial intelligence (AI) product created by OpenAI offers responses to questions posed by users, and is trained via machine learning and other language models to provide more refined conversations over time. A new iteration called GPT-4, which can read imagery in addition to text inputs, promotes “safer and more useful responses.”
The implications of ChatGPT and other generative AI platforms on information literacy and academic research are part of ongoing discussions at University of Houston, in which faculty and librarians are familiarizing themselves with the technology and gaining a deeper understanding of how students are using it. In conversations with students and faculty, librarians in the department of Teaching and Learning at UH Libraries have learned that students are interacting with ChatGPT for assignments in a variety of ways. They shared that a common use is to prompt ChatGPT to write an essay or at least provide a starting point. Students are also asking it to generate summaries of articles and books to supplement their learning, gain foundational knowledge about a broad topic, or find potential sources for research papers.
The academic and scholarly utility of ChatGPT is variable. Because it sometimes provides erroneous or false responses, relying on it to produce a rigorous essay or provide sources that meet academic standards is risky. The temptation for some students to take ChatGPT’s responses and submit as their own work can be overwhelming. It’s a widely available tool that is here to stay, however, and knowing how it operates, as well as how to use it appropriately, will help mitigate those drawbacks. This is where information literacy plays a significant role in supporting academic integrity, creating an environment in which generative AI and information literacy can coexist for the benefit of scholarly users.
Information literacy involves “the reflective discovery of information, understanding how information is produced and valued, and ethical participation in communities of learning.” Teaching and Learning librarians view ChatGPT and other generative AI “as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of verifying information and reinforcing that as a major part of the research process.” Moreover, AI models offer the potential to assist students with language or communication disabilities in drafting or improving essays and other writing. Students might also use ChatGPT to improve vocabulary, sentence structure, and overall communication when learning a new language.
UH librarians are responding to the use of ChatGPT by developing their knowledge of generative AI through testing, and are collaborating with UH faculty members to identify teaching materials that could provide instruction for students on applying ChatGPT ethically and as part of an iterative process. Instruction@UH, sponsored by the Office of the Provost, is an online resource for faculty to engage in areas of educational technology and instructional design. A category of content dedicated to AI and ChatGPT offers discussion and practical advice for instructors, such as recommendations on how to integrate the emergent technology in coursework.
For this feature, ChatGPT was asked “how does ChatGPT relate to information literacy?” Its partial response: “ChatGPT, as a language model, can play a role in supporting information literacy…. However, it’s important to note that while ChatGPT can be a helpful tool, it’s not a substitute for developing one’s own information literacy skills. Users should critically evaluate information obtained from any source, including ChatGPT, and seek multiple perspectives to form well-rounded conclusions.”
A new exhibit is now on display at University of Houston Libraries Special Collections.
Curators and student Daf Meza Flores selected primary source materials for The Hollyfield Foundation Pride Exhibit for the LGBT History Research Collection, which asks viewers to consider the impact of families on the lives of LGBTQ+ people in historical and contemporary contexts.
The exhibit and the LGBT History Research Collection are supported by an endowment from The Hollyfield Foundation, which provides funding for the acquisition and preservation of primary source materials. The LGBT History Research Collection preserves and promotes the archives of LGBT communities and organizations from Houston and the region. Materials, including personal papers, organization records, and library collections, document the communities’ activist, cultural, social, and political activities, and the personal experiences of community members.
Visitors may view the exhibit on the second floor of MD Anderson Library through June.