UH Libraries News

Open Course Materials in Cougar ROAR

A new community in Cougar Research Open Access Repositories (ROAR) allows University of Houston faculty to deposit and share open educational resources (OER).

Open Course Materials gathers openly licensed course materials generated by instructors at UH and creates long-term access to those materials for UH students, including archived resources that would otherwise only be available in Blackboard, the application for online learning.

The UH Institutional Repository, or Cougar ROAR, provides open online access to the research and scholarship produced at the University. By aggregating content reflecting the scholarly, educational, and administrative output of UH from faculty, students, staff, and campus units, the repository preserves and provides global access to the legacy of UH research and scholarly communication.

OER at UH is a student success initiative sponsored by the Office of the Provost that promotes the creation of teaching and learning resources in the public domain or licensed in such a way that anyone may freely use and re-purpose them. OER refer to any tools or materials used to support learning, including full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, lesson plans, streaming videos, tests, and other digital resources. UH instructors directly support student success by implementing an open or alternative textbook in their courses, with the purpose of eliminating textbook costs and ensuring UH students have free and immediate access to course materials.

“Cougar ROAR is a great resource for anyone who is developing a new course or enhancing or updating an existing course,” said Arlene Ramirez, instructional assistant professor in the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. “Being able to review materials others have found successful in the classroom is beneficial in the design process. More time can be spent on the methodologies that may be used to teach the materials and less time on developing artifacts to solidifying comprehension of the content. Another consideration is that the material on Cougar ROAR provides a different perspective on a topic, and this is especially helpful when one is immersed in developing a course or material. Using open resource materials also allows for expanding materials found on Cougar ROAR or using only specific portions. The flexibility is a great benefit.”

Instructors who are new to teaching will find Cougar ROAR to be a valuable tool in learning how to develop accessible course material. Sharing knowledge is a large part of what makes Cougar ROAR beneficial for faculty.

“The adage ‘sharing is caring’ is true when considering Cougar ROAR,” Ramirez said. “Developing material that can help others in their courses, or using contributions from others that can help in my courses, reflects how much the University cares about providing the best resources to faculty and the best education to our students. Faculty are proud of what they develop to help our students achieve success and sharing that is a way to not only give back but to also help in the professional development of faculty.”

Instructors are encouraged to explore options for creating OER and for making those resources widely available online. UH faculty who have created OER and want to make it accessible in the Open Course Materials community in Cougar ROAR may contact Ariana Santiago, open educational resources coordinator at UH Libraries, to get started. Requests will be processed in the order in which they are received.

New Platform for UH Digital Collections

Cover of Daily Breakthrough, November 19, 1977. From the Carey C. Shuart Women's Research Collection, and accessible at UH Digital Collections.

Cover of Daily Breakthrough, November 19, 1977. From the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Research Collection, and accessible at UH Digital Collections.

The University of Houston Libraries Bayou City Digital Asset Management Systems (BCDAMS) team is pleased to announce the full launch of the new UH Digital Collections (UHDC) repository.

UHDC allows users to search rare and unique digitized and born­-digital ­­items from UH Libraries collections. With 66 of the Libraries’ 92 digital collections moved to the UHDC and the Audio/Video Repository, the final phase of the UHDC implementation represents a shift away from the previous platform known as the UH Digital Library.

Improvements include navigation, search/browse, and image viewer enhancements; robust options for access and download restrictions; permalinks across access, preservation, and finding aids; and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance for accessibility.

How to search UH Digital Collections

Publicity photo of The Sensational Nightingales, midcentury. From the Texas Music Collection, Houston & Texas History Research Collection, and accessible at UH Digital Collections.

Publicity photo of The Sensational Nightingales, midcentury. From the Texas Music Collection, Houston & Texas History Research Collection, and accessible at UH Digital Collections.

The purpose of the BCDAMS team is to bring a new digital collections experience to all Libraries users by upgrading the previous Digital Library, incorporating digital preservation strategies, and streamlining workflows for digital collection production.

The team stated that “UH Digital Collections supports the UH Strategic Plan goal of nationally competitive research by providing the infrastructure to promote interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research in areas such as energy and sustainability, history, social sciences, and the arts. Digital collections are currently being used in innovative faculty, staff, and student research projects across campus, and we look forward to engaging further with digital humanities and data science researchers through the improvements provided by the new system.”

‘Sharing Stories from 1977’ Launches Digital Archive Preview

Sharing Stories from 1977: Putting the National Women’s Conference on the Map, a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Collaborative Research Grant, highlights a multi-year, multi-state, multi-institutional effort, led by Moores professor of history Nancy Beck Young and associate professor of history Leandra Zarnow, to document and analyze the experience and impact of thousands of delegates and observers of the 1977 National Women’s Conference (NWC). The goal of the project is to create an open source digital archive that spurs quantitative and qualitative scholarship as well as public engagement.

An online preview of this project is now live.

The preview introduces the project in anticipation of a debut of the full site on November 21, 2021. On that date, visitors will have access to research on the Texas delegates and presidential appointed commissioners with the remaining research to roll out quarterly starting in late spring 2022. An initial data set will showcase the dynamism of what Sharing Stories from 1977 will grow to be when the project is completed in 2027. Over 1000 UH students, as well as pilot crowdsourcing partners at colleges and universities in Indiana and California, contributed to the project. 

The site’s November 21 launch will include:

  • Why NWC Matters: featuring a historical timeline and interpretive essays on topics pertaining to the NWC
  • Discover NWC Stories: showcasing biographies and oral histories of NWC participants
  • Mapping the NWC: presenting searchable demographic data on the lives, advocacy work, and careers of NWC participants
  • How to Contribute: featuring resources for NWC participants, students, researchers, archivists, educators, and the general public

“The NEH has recognized Sharing Stories from 1977 as an innovative space for students to do historical research that builds their critical thinking and writing skills while also contributing to our digital public square,” Zarnow said. “Documenting the stories of dynamic and diverse women active in communities across the United States makes clear not only that the 1970s was a high point of civic engagement, but also that the issues advocated for then from child care to LGBT rights continue to matter today.”

The Sharing Stories project received funds from the UH Libraries Digital Research Commons and the Libraries Sponsored Projects program, which offers grants for digital research projects at various stages of development. The DRC cultivates interdisciplinary research and builds communities of practice around digital research methodologies.

Additionally, the Sharing Stories project received funds from the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality, partnered with UH Special Collections Carey C. Shuart Women’s Research Collection, and is a flagship project of the UH Center for Public History.  

Support the Sharing Stories project.

Call for Applications: Spring 2022 Digital Research Institute

University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Commons (DRC) invites all UH graduate and professional students to submit an application for participation in the Spring 2022 Digital Research Institute, a multi-day intensive experience aimed at building the foundational skills and knowledge needed to generate a piece of digital research.

UH grad students are encouraged to apply to the Spring 2022 Digital Research Institute.

UH grad students are encouraged to apply to the Spring 2022 Digital Research Institute.

The Institute will take place on Zoom over five days, March 14 – 19, 2022, the week of Spring Break, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm daily. It is aimed at those who are in the beginning phases of digital research that is intended to form the basis for part of an article or a thesis/dissertation. The 4-6 students who are best positioned to benefit from the experience will be offered a seat in the Institute along with a $500 scholarship, provided by the UH Graduate School and UH Libraries, to be received after successful completion of the experience.

Participants must attend all five days of the Institute plus a virtual interview with DRC staff and “Getting Started” cohort discussion to be scheduled the week before the Institute. Participants will be assigned individualized pre-work and readings that will give them the theoretical and conceptual grounding needed to undertake the work of the Institute and exit the experience with the tangible beginnings of their digital research as well as next steps. Over the Institute, they will attend 3-5 sessions per day delivered by Digital Research Commons staff and other digital research practitioners, each targeted at building technical skills and offering individualized mentorship.

To apply, fill out this form by Friday, November 19, 11:59 pm.

Questions? Contact the staff in the Digital Research Commons: drc@uh.edu.

2022 Sponsored Projects Call for Proposals

University of Houston Libraries Digital Research Services (DRS) invites UH faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows to submit proposals for sponsored digital research projects to run through the calendar year 2022. DRS collaborates with researchers on projects involving digital techniques across the humanities, social sciences, and experimental sciences.

DRS seeks 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. While prior knowledge of digital tools and techniques is welcome, it is not required. DRS works with researchers to help them organize their information, analyze it, and produce compelling results.

DRS will offer grants at three 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 $3500. The second, designed to develop projects that have already made demonstrable progress, will offer funding up to $6500. The third tier, designed to foster projects at a planning stage, will offer funding up to $1000, and focus primarily on producing a polished application for federal or external grants.

Accepted applicants will work with Libraries staff to plan and build their projects into working prototypes. DRS encourages applications from project teams in the public humanities broadly understood, in particular those that engage the public in current social equality and justice themes and are composed of team members that advance these movements. Additionally, DRS is interested in proposals that integrate or analyze UH Libraries Special Collections.

Proposals are due by November 5. For more information on how to submit your proposal, visit Sponsored Projects Program Overview and Documentation.

By on September 27th, 2021 in Announcements, Digital Research, Featured

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.

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.

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.

Malone Receives MLA Fellowship

Andrea Malone

Andrea Malone

Andrea Malone, coordinator of research services at University of Houston Libraries, has received a 2021 Modern Language Association (MLA) field bibliography fellowship. Serving as a fellow for a three-year term, Malone will provide indexing on behalf of the MLA International Bibliography, a searchable database with more than 2.8 million records pertaining to journals, books, websites, and other content related to humanities scholarship and resources.

From the MLA Field Bibliographer Newsletter: “MLA field bibliographers and field bibliography fellows perform a vital service for the profession, ensuring that important texts are accessible to present and future scholars. Field bibliographers not only provide indexing for thousands of books and journals we cannot otherwise access but also contribute indexing for the continually expanding number of publications in the diverse subject areas represented within the Bibliography. The citations produced by MLA field bibliographers and field bibliography fellows greatly enrich our coverage of specialized areas of study related to modern languages, literatures, dramatic arts (theater, film, television, opera, and radio), folklore, linguistics, pedagogy, rhetoric, and writing studies.”

University of Houston users can access the MLA International Bibliography and related resources at the research guide for modern and classical languages and literature.

By on August 3rd, 2021 in Announcements, Digital Research

Davis-Van Atta Wins TDL Scholarly Communication Award

Taylor Davis-Van Atta

Taylor Davis-Van Atta

Taylor Davis-Van Atta, director of the Digital Research Commons at University of Houston Libraries, has been chosen as the 2021 recipient of the Texas Digital Library (TDL) Scholarly Communication Award. The award honors the work of an individual or group of academics, including faculty and librarians, who have made significant advances in our understanding of the issues surrounding scholarly communications.

In her letter of nomination for the award, Anne Washington, semantic applications product analyst at OCLC and former coordinator of metadata services at UH Libraries, stated that “Taylor Davis-Van Atta is most deserving of the TDL Scholarly Communication Award for his leadership in transforming UH Libraries scholarly communication services and support. His achievements include significantly growing University of Houston (UH)‚ open access repositories; championing UH Libraries services across campus; and creatively engaging UH colleges and programs to make thousands of student and faculty works openly available.”

Among Davis-Van Atta’s many accomplishments are the build-out of infrastructure for the Cougar ROAR (Repositories for Open Access) to support scholars in depositing and sharing their open works, and the establishment of a curriculum vitae service to expedite the deposit of faculty works into the Institutional Repository. 

Davis-Van Atta came to UH Libraries in 2017 as the digital scholarship coordinator and was promoted to his current role in 2020. His areas of specialization include scholarly publishing, open access and author rights, thesis and dissertation development, and his research interests include digital research sustainability and the presentation and preservation of born-digital research outputs. He is also the founding publisher and co-editor of the humanities journal Music & Literature.