UH Libraries News

Cougar Card Required for Entry to MD Anderson Library

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.

All University of Houston students, faculty, and staff must use a physical Cougar Card for entry to MD Anderson Library.

All University of Houston students, faculty, and staff must use a physical Cougar Card for entry to MD Anderson Library.

How to get your Cougar Card

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.

More information on entering MD Anderson Library

Important Change to EBSCO Content Links

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 collections@uh.edu.  

To avoid having to update links in the future, we recommend that you access databases via the Libraries’ A-Z databases list and include your article readings via course reserves. 

We appreciate your understanding at this busy time in the year and we wish you a great start of the new semester.

By on August 13th, 2023 in Announcements, Featured

Upgrade to UH Institutional Repository

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 cougarroar@uh.edu.

New Student Success Librarian

Imani Spence

Imani Spence

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.

ChatGPT and Information Literacy

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.”  

Capabilities and limitations provided by ChatGPT

Capabilities and limitations provided by ChatGPT

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.”  

Read ChatGPT’s full response to the information literacy question.

By on July 12th, 2023 in Announcements, Featured

New Exhibit Features LGBT History Research Collection

A new exhibit is now on display at University of Houston Libraries Special Collections.

The Hollyfield Foundation Pride Exhibit for the LGBT History Research

The Hollyfield Foundation Pride Exhibit for the LGBT History Research

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.

2023 Library Excellence Awards

University of Houston Libraries recognized outstanding employees at an awards ceremony this week. The 23rd annual Library Excellence Awards celebrated librarians and staff who bring a high level of leadership, collegiality, and care to their roles. The yearly tradition is supported through the generosity of the John P. McGovern Foundation.

Dean Athena N. Jackson with Robby Reyna, a Student Achievement award winner at the 23rd annual Library Excellence Awards

Dean Athena N. Jackson with Robby Reyna, a Student Achievement award winner at the 23rd annual Library Excellence Awards

Athena N. Jackson, dean of Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair, opened the spirited event with acknowledgment of the positive influence all Libraries’ employees have on the workplace and on our communities of students, faculty, and researchers, and gratitude for those who brought the awards ceremony to fruition, including committee members Jeannie Castro, Alma Gallo, Annie Wu and Christina Gola who facilitated the nomination process; members of the Employee Engagement Committee who contributed to the development of the event theme, “Hats Off To You;” to Mauricio Lazo for contributing his design and photography talents; and to Dwendol Nelson who coordinated logistics and venue preparation.  

The Dean’s Advocate award was presented to Emily Messa, PhD, CASP, senior associate vice chancellor and vice president for administration. The award recognizes a UH employee who has collaborated closely with UH Libraries during the past year. Messa has given considerable time to building a relationship with Dean Jackson in support of UH Libraries. She has been an advocate and partner in finding opportunities for improving the student experience.  

The Student Achievement awards were presented to Katie Aguiar and Robby Reyna. Aguiar works in the Jenkins Architecture, Design, and Art Library. Her colleagues stated that very quickly after being hired she became essential to the department and proved to be a terrific teammate. She is described as welcoming to students, reliable, patient, and someone who understands the value of time and productivity. Reyna goes above and beyond as part of the Libraries Administrative team. He is always kind, smiling, and working hard. He is willing to come in early, and do what is needed to get the job done, often providing great ideas to make processes more efficient. When not working in the Libraries or tending to his studies, he serves as a College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics student ambassador. He was recently selected as one of the John P. McGovern Library Scholars.  

This year’s McGovern Outstanding Student award recipient is Celenia Garcia, the lead student worker for resource sharing in the department of Acquisitions and Resource Sharing. She is described as being extremely helpful, trustworthy and responsible, demonstrating excellent time management and organizational abilities. She makes positive contributions to the department’s overall success and shows confidence. She is also creative and innovative in her work, looking to be sustainable and cost effective in her use of supplies and resources. 

Duong Pham is the McGovern Staff Rookie of the Year. She has been a true asset in many ways. Colleagues describe her as thoughtful, friendly, warm, competent, and communicative. She has been instrumental in helping employees get settled into new workspaces and helping them understand all the technology equipment they need. She takes on major projects with care and consideration, ensuring positive outcomes for all employees involved.  

Maurine Nichols is the McGovern Librarian Rookie of the Year. She has quickly proven herself to be a positive leader. Faced with multiple staffing vacancies, changes, and potential challenges, Nichols demonstrated effective leadership by engaging staff, listening, exploring options, and developing clear plans. When tackling challenges, she immediately identifies and brings together key stakeholders to find collaborative solutions. She is full of new and good ideas and is making positive changes. 

Chris Galloway and Dolores Martinez received Staff Achievement awards. Galloway is known for consistently and enthusiastically volunteering for, and serving as a resource, for annual events such as Cougar First Impressions, student orientations, and other campus events. He is a wonderful supervisor and collaborative colleague, having worked at UH Libraries for many years in a variety of positions and locations, making smooth transitions and quickly becoming a critical asset in each of his roles. Martinez also consistently and enthusiastically participates in supporting our students across campus through events such as Cougar First Impressions and fundraising efforts such as March of Dimes. She is a long-time employee who has adapted to many changes over the years and has been essential to the Resource Management unit. She has hired and trained numerous students, learned new skills, and is a friend and colleague to many across UH Libraries.  

The McGovern Outstanding Staff award recipient, Keith Komos, demonstrates leadership, flexibility, emotional intelligence, and innovative solutions. Over the years, he has contributed to faculty research projects and countless web applications, and has served on numerous committees. This past year he has focused his expertise on enhancing the Libraries’ discovery platform and helping to streamline workflows. He is pleasant to work with, highly responsive, thoughtful, and trustworthy. 

The Librarian Achievement awards were given to Natalia Kapacinskas and Linda Garcia Merchant. Kapacinskas began her UH Libraries career remotely during the more challenging days of the pandemic, but nonetheless made meaningful connections with colleagues resulting in successful collaborations that have accelerated her impact. She has taken the lead on instruction efforts for lower-level undergraduate core courses, and has been successful in moving forward a curriculum mapping project, an online learning videos project, and learner-centered pedagogy. One colleague shared that she is the most courageous in taking on challenging and demanding instruction opportunities. She has also served as a leader on the Organizational Learning Committee. Garcia Merchant has also made an incredible impact in a short amount of time. Her decade of experience in the field of public and digital humanities has centered her as a critical leader in the development of the Digital Humanities Core Facility. She has created a strategy for planning and implementing key elements of the DH Core, gained buy-in on this strategy from key stakeholders, and built critical relationships across campus. She is adept and creative in her problem solving, evident on a daily basis as she navigates a complex and politically nuanced campus landscape. On top of the many wonderful traits and talents she brings to the Libraries, she also shares joy, enthusiasm, and good humor in every aspect of her work.  

Carolina Hernandez is the McGovern Outstanding Librarian, excelling in all areas of librarianship, scholarship, service, and job performance. She has proven to be an effective leader and collaborator within the Teaching and Learning department to develop lessons, online objects, and videos, as well as new documentation and workflows for LibGuides. She has represented the Libraries with appointments on the Learning Management System (LMS) Evaluation Committee and Honors in Co-Curricular Engagement Advisory Board. She also serves as a mentor in the Las Comadres organization, which supports Latina students on campus. She has also led the Organizational Learning Committee. Her extensive service and scholarly contributions have resulted in peer-reviewed articles and prestigious conference presentations, earning her the Rooks Early Career Fellowship.  

This year’s Outstanding Group Award goes to the Collections Assessment Working Group (CAWG), chaired by Wenli Gao, and current and past members Jeannie Castro, Orolando Duffus, Ian Knabe, Maurine Nichols, Judy Parsons, and Shawn Vaillancourt. The group was formed in January 2022 for the purpose of fostering cross-departmental evaluation of existing collections and potential new resources. In just one year, this group has made tremendous progress in ensuring responsible stewardship of collections budgets and has helped to enhance the value and relevance of our collections. They have established workflows, created and applied holistic evaluation criteria, began evaluating subscriptions and maintenance fees, and made recommendations on renewals. They also created a review schedule and automated processes for long term planning. 

Madelyn Washington received the Dean Dana C. Rooks and Dr. Charles W. Rooks Diversity Award for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of her life and work, in both nuanced and noticeable ways. She is intentional about how she interacts with others to demonstrate inclusion, and is often asked for advice on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. She has been asked by many groups across campus to lead diversity initiatives, including leading book discussions and working with student groups. She has championed inclusive recruitment practices on search committees, and been involved with community building in the surrounding campus neighborhood. She is always setting a good example in leadership meetings on how to explore multiple perspectives with empathy.  

View photos from the 2023 Library Excellence Awards.

By on May 18th, 2023 in Announcements, Featured

Announcing Micro-credential in Digital Humanities

University of Houston Libraries and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute (HPE DSI) are thrilled to announce the inaugural Micro-credential in the Digital Humanities program, part of the joint Digital Humanities Core (DHC) initiative.

The Digital Humanities Core facility welcomes applications from any tenure-track or promotion-eligible non-tenure track faculty interested in building a public or digital humanities project, and securing funding to launch that project. No prior experience is required but seats are limited. Applications are due on May 22, 2023.

Successful applicants will engage strategies around:

  • Digital project ideation and planning
  • Project, data, and labor management
  • Process development
  • Successful grant proposal strategies

Participants commit to attending workshops June 5 – 16, 2023 held virtually and in person at the Digital Research Commons in MD Anderson Library and the HPE DSI Visualization Theater.

For more details, please contact dhcf@uh.edu.

Professional and Scholarly Spotlight Spring 2023

University of Houston librarians and staff are actively engaged in scholarship and service to the profession, demonstrated through presenting, publishing, and community engagement; and recognized through fellowships, honors, and leadership roles.

Taylor Davis-Van Atta accepted a one-year extended appointment as a chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Digital Scholarship Section Professional Development Committee.  

Davis-Van Atta presented at Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) Forum on “Directions in digital scholarship: Support for digital, data-intensive, and computational research in academic libraries.”

Orolando Duffus co-presented “Gathering for action: A presentation on how to identify and take advantage of career growth opportunities for BIPOC librarians” with F. Foster, S. Webb, J. Thacker, and C. Jacobs as a pre-conference workshop panel at Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC).

Duffus co-presented “Employing pedagogical approaches towards inclusivity in library instruction for business and related disciplines” with A. Kraft, R. Peri, and W. Pothier; and “Mentorship: Creating pathways and expanding opportunities for historically underrepresented minority groups” with C. Guy, L. Xu, and R. Hankins as panels at ACRL Conference.

Wenli Gao co-presented “Bringing Asian Pacific American library workers together: An overview of ‘Path to Leadership’” with L. Pelayo-Lozada, L. Ruan, and R. Pun; and “Moving forward together: CALA’s actions towards EDI” with H. Yao, M. Huang, and G. Liu at JCLC.

Gao received the JCLC Advocacy Award.

Edward Gloor and Carolina Hernandez co-presented a poster, “Reconsidering LibGuides: From Pathfinders to Learning Opportunities,” at ACRL Conference. 

Gloor and K. Adams will co-present a breakout session, “Building Community: DIY Punk Strategies for Critical Information Literacy,” at LOEX Conference; and a column titled “Building Community: DIY Punk Strategies for the Library Classroom” will be published at College & Research Libraries News.

Rachel Helbing co-wrote “In-person and online escape rooms for individual and team-based learning in health professions library instruction” with Stefanie Lapka, K. Richdale, and C.L. Hatfield which was published in Journal of the Medical Library Association.

Helbing co-wrote “Response to school-based interventions for overweight and obesity: A systematic scoping review” with K.R. Arlinghaus, A.B. Cepni, L.P. Goodman, T.A. Ledoux, and C.A. Johnston which appeared in Clinical Obesity.

Helbing and A. Corral co-wrote a book chapter, “Maintaining continuity through institutional growth and personnel changes,” which appeared in Accreditation in the health sciences: A handbook for librarians, edited by D. Schmick.

Helbing presented with A. Corral “Chaos is a friend of mine: Creating and planning services for a new medical library space” at Medical Library Association and Special Libraries Association Joint Meeting; and is a member of the UH Population Health Internal Advisory Board.

Carolina Hernandez presented a paper titled “Need not apply: Identifying barriers to application in academic librarian job postings” at ACRL Conference.

Hernandez participated in a virtual panel titled “Navigating research incentives: IRB, institutional support, and funds” hosted by Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL); and co-presented a session with Veronica Arellano Douglas titled “What are they really saying and why? An interdisciplinary approach to critical visual literacy” at Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) Annual Conference.

Susan Hoover was selected for the 2023 Institute for Research Design in Librarianship and is serving on the planning committee for the 2023 LD4 Conference on Linked Data. Hoover will present a lightning talk, “What’s behind door number 2? Discovering and using hidden APIs to automate repetitive tasks,” at the annual Texas Conference on Digital Libraries.

Natalia Kapacinskas will co-present “Tending to our roots: Collective care, crip time, and disability in the library classroom” with Brea McQueen and Anna Boutin-Cooper at LOEX Conference.

Kapacinskas and Gloor co-wrote “Pandemic Professionals: Beginning a Librarian Career in a Crisis,” which was published in Journal of New Librarianship.

Stefanie Lapka co-wrote “Assessing for developmental language disorder in the context of African American English” with I. Francois, N.B. Ratner, and M.T. Mills which appeared in EBP Briefs.

Lapka led the Health Science Libraries’ spring webinar series, Scholarly Profiles: Communicating Your Research Impact While Meeting Funder Requirements, presenting three sessions geared toward UH health professions faculty, researchers, and students: “Researcher & Author Identifiers, Profiles and Social Networks: Maximize Your Impact,” “Developing Biosketches: How to Create a Biosketch for NIH/NSF Grant Proposals,” and “Creating and Using Your ORCID iD.”

Andrea Malone began five-year term on the Executive Committee of the Modern Language Association’s Libraries and Research Forum.

Malone presented “Trends in research impact librarianship: Developing new programs and services” at LibLearnX 2023; moderated a panel titled “BIPOC experiences in library/archive leadership: Centering the voices & perspectives of Black women” for the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Leadership and Career Development Program; and co-led a workshop with Taylor Davis-Van Atta for the UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences titled “Strategies for improving research visibility and impact.”

Mary Manning presented “Clifton’s blues: Blending Acadian sounds with blues, R&B, and popular music in southeast Texas” at the Texas Historical Association Annual Meeting.

Manning wrote “’Agents of Change: Celebrating Innovation at UH’s Centennial,’ a collaborative exhibit bringing 100 Years of Stories project full circle” which appeared in Houston History Magazine.

Ariana Santiago presented on an ACRL Conference panel titled “Opening Doors: From Library Residencies to Open Education” and co-edited a book (two volumes), Exploring Inclusive & Equitable Pedagogies: Creating Space for All Learners.

Mea Warren was appointed to the ACRL National Student Engagement Survey Committee.

$135K Gift Designated for Co-Curricular Student Success

University of Houston Libraries has received an anonymous gift of $135,000 to support the expansion of co-curricular student success.

UH students comprise a diverse population representing various backgrounds and needs, including and not limited to first-generation, international, and transfer students. UH Libraries’ Teaching and Learning team facilitates the academic success of all UH students through highly-engaged experiences beyond the classroom known as co-curricular teaching. The generous gift enables UH Libraries to scale efforts through a program dedicated to the significant University goal of providing a top tier, inclusive educational experience to all.

Teaching and Learning librarians work within and beyond the traditional UH classroom, empowering all students to discover that which matters most to them and to value the pursuit of lifelong learning. Librarians play a unique role in bringing learners together outside of the classroom structure; there is no grading, only curiosity and creativity in a supportive environment. Co-curricular teaching efforts are focused on the learning ecosystem that complements formal curricula where students can apply what they discover to make meaningful contributions to the University and the greater community.

“This influential gift allows us to advance student success at UH in direct ways,” said Athena Jackson, dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. “Through the provision of resources, services, and partnerships that lead to enriched learning and knowledge-sharing, our librarians are creating a holistic academic experience at the heart of the University which will have a beneficial and substantive impact on all UH students.”