UH Libraries News

Call for Applications: Alternative Textbook Incentive Program

University of Houston Libraries is now accepting applications for the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP). The incentive program awards UH instructors who adopt, modify, or create open educational resources (OER), or who adopt no-cost or low-cost alternative resources, to replace a commercial textbook in their courses. This initiative aligns with the university’s strategic goal of providing a top tier, inclusive educational experience to all UH students. By removing high costs associated with traditional textbooks, this program helps UH instructors make educational programs more financially accessible for all students. 

The deadline for ATIP applications is Friday, March 24, 2023. Instructors are encouraged to apply by March 3 to receive feedback and the opportunity to revise and resubmit their application if desired. Awards of between $1,000 and $5,000 will be made based on the estimated cost savings for students, projected number of students impacted, type of alternative textbook proposed, and overall feasibility of the proposal. 

Open educational resources (OER) offer an alternative to the problem of expensive textbooks for students. Students at Texas post-secondary institutions spend an average of $1,247 annually on books and supplies. A 2021 report from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that 65% of college students skip buying textbooks due to the cost despite concerns that this will negatively impact their grades. 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. Further, according to the OER in Texas Higher Education report, OER usage has also been associated with benefits to teaching and learning by supporting open pedagogical practices and encouraging localization of materials to meet learner needs. 

UH faculty are encouraged to attend an upcoming information session to learn about the incentive program and the benefits of alternative textbooks. Faculty may also make an appointment with the department of Open Education Services to discuss implementing open textbooks in the classroom and the support provided through the incentive program. 

Please email oer@uh.edu for more information. 

By on February 13th, 2023 in Announcements, Featured, OER

Exhibit Highlights the Genesis of UH African American Studies

An upcoming student-curated exhibit at University of Houston Libraries features the student organization Afro Americans for Black Liberation (AABL) and its success in the inception of the UH African American Studies Program in 1969. 

AABL Spokesmen Address City-Wide Press Representatives. Dwight Allen, Lynn Eusan And Eugene Locke Clarify Recent List of Demands. Photo by David Lyons

Part of the “Forged by Protest” exhibit, this image appeared in the Daily Cougar with the caption “AABL Spokesmen Address City-Wide Press Representatives. Dwight Allen, Lynn Eusan And Eugene Locke Clarify Recent List of Demands. Photo by David Lyons.”

Forged by Protest: Student Organization Afro Americans for Black Liberation (AABL) and the Genesis of the UH African American Studies Program was curated by Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH) scholar Saron Regassa as an analog component of a digital project aiming to make the history of AABL accessible as an online resource. The exhibit is a collaboration between the UH department of African American Studies and UH Libraries.  

In 1967, a UH sophomore, Gene Locke, created the student organization Committee for Better Race Relations (COBRR), which soon became Afro Americans for Black Liberation (AABL, pronounced “able”). On February 7, 1969, AABL presented their “10 Demands” to UH president Philip G. Hoffman, and throughout the semester, AABL rallied for support on campus. Among the demands was a call for a “Department of Afro-American Studies.” AABL’s activities led to the establishment of the UH Afro-American Program (now the department of African American Studies) later that year, making UH the first state university in Texas with such a program and one of the first in the nation. The UH African American Studies Program was granted departmental status in 2021. Tara T. Green joined the UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) as founding chair of the department of African American Studies in 2022. 

As part of the REACH project, Regassa is researching the history of AABL using archives across UH Special Collections, from student publications to UH administration records, and using the primary sources, provided the context and description for the exhibit. REACH is a year-long introductory research experience for undergraduates in humanities disciplines, and is supported by the Cougar Initiative to Engage and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards (OURMA). REACH connects students to existing UH digital humanities projects and allows them to develop research skills through mentored, first-hand scholarly inquiry and through participation in OURMA research programming. REACH participants will present their research at Undergraduate Research Day in April 2023. 

The exhibit will be on display at MD Anderson Library from February 13 through March 13. 

New Digital Collection: Pecan-Shellers’ Strike Documents

A new collection, the Pecan-Shellers’ Strike Documents, is now accessible online at UH Digital Collections.

new digital collection pecan shellers' strike documents

Pecan-Shellers’ Strike Documents from Gov. James V. Allred Papers

Featuring 119 items from the Gov. James V. Allred Papers, found in UH Libraries Special Collections, the Pecan-Shellers’ Strike Documents collection describes labor activism of Hispanic women. As described by the Handbook of Texas, “On January 31, 1938, nearly 12,000 San Antonio pecan shellers, mostly Hispanic women, walked off their jobs.” The strike, led initially by Emma B. Tenayuca, lasted for three months and was marked by hundreds of arrests. “At Governor James Allred’s urging, the Texas Industrial Commission investigated possible violations of civil rights in San Antonio and found the police interference with the right of peaceful assembly to be unjustified.”

The materials in this collection have frequently been used for teaching in English department courses. The digital collection facilitates use of the materials in face-to-face, hybrid, or asynchronous instruction sessions.

Explore the collection with these notable items: 

Digitized UH Theses and Dissertations Accessible in Cougar ROAR

A digitized collection of theses and dissertations from University of Houston researchers is now available in the UH Libraries Cougar Research Open Access Repositories (ROAR).

The Digitized Theses and Dissertations Project is an ongoing, multi-year initiative to make a wide range of theses and dissertations produced by UH students accessible online. With funding provided by the John P. McGovern Foundation to initiate the project, UH Libraries is digitizing and making accessible nearly 20,000 volumes dating from 1940 through 2009.

The project supports the University’s mission by boosting the reach and impact of UH research and scholarship through enhanced online access and by providing long-term, safe and sustainable online storage and preservation. The project offers additional benefits including enhanced discoverability by Google’s strong indexing capabilities and increased usage of UH theses and dissertations.

Alumni, faculty, and other users will be able to view the theses and dissertations as they are processed and made available in Cougar ROAR, with the pre-1978 volumes prioritized for online access. Theses and dissertations that are presumed to be under copyright will be restricted to users who have an active university ID. There is no cost to the UH theses and dissertation authors for this service. Authors who prefer to opt out of this digitization project may submit a Takedown Request Form. For questions, please contact cougarroar@uh.edu.

By on January 5th, 2023 in Announcements, Featured

EZproxy Moving to Azure Active Directory Authentication

University of Houston Libraries Technology Services is planning to change how users log into EZproxy on January 9, 2023, at 7 am. CougarNet Active Directory Domain authentication will change to the University’s Office 365-based Azure Active Directory authentication.

These changes will serve to:

  • Simplify our authentication infrastructure
  • Create documented authentication configurations and procedures  
  • Provide uniform user experience across library web applications
  • Align our authentication services with those used by University Information Technology (UIT) and other colleges
  • Take advantage of the high availability of Azure AD’s cloud-based service
  • Take advantage of DUO two-factor authentication services (2FA) to improve account security
  • Future-proof our services as more UIT infrastructure and services and move to the Cloud
  • Allow single sign-on (SSO) to other Azure AD configured web services

After the change is made, users will be prompted to enter their CougarNet ID (Cougarnetid@cougarnet.uh.edu) into the same authentication window (see below) that they currently see when they log into web services like Access UH, Primo My Account, and Office 365. 

Azure CougarNet ID window
By on January 5th, 2023 in Announcements

TLCUA – Elsevier Agreement Results in Cost Savings, Greater Access

Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA) announced that negotiations with Elsevier have concluded. University of Houston (UH), UH Clear Lake, and UH Downtown (all coalition members) have signed agreements renewing Elsevier subscription journal access through December 31, 2024.

This deal represents significant cost savings for the UH system over the three-year term of our agreements and more effective stewardship of the collections budget across the system.

  • UH maintains existing high level of access to journal content with a 10% cost reduction
  • UH Clear Lake and UH Downtown each gain significant access to content partnered with 30% cost reductions

Continued and greater access to Elsevier journal content directly supports scholarship and strengthens the UH system research and learning enterprise.

As a result of the collaboratively negotiated agreement, UH authors who publish work under open access license will have access to discounted author publication charges (APCs) of 10-15% in eligible gold and hybrid journal titles, excluding Cell Press, The Lancet, and certain society titles. Publishing open access enables authors to retain rights and have greater control over how published research is used. APC discounts help defray the cost to the author.

The TLCUA collaboration has strengthened UH system relationships with Texas university libraries. The coalition will continue working together to make strategic, informed decisions through the lens of higher education needs in Texas.

Contact collections@uh.edu with any questions.

By on December 13th, 2022 in Announcements, Featured

New Teaching and Learning Librarian

Jennifer Holland

Jennifer Holland

University of Houston Libraries welcomes Jennifer Holland as a new librarian in the department of Teaching and Learning.

Please describe your role at UH Libraries. How does your work align with the teaching and learning priorities of the University?

As a member of the Teaching and Learning team, I will be teaching classes, developing learning materials, and working with folks in the early stages of their research. Much of my work focuses on facilitating learning experiences around information literacy outcomes. It is vital that students develop skills and competencies to engage with information in ways that are effective and ethical in order to perform well academically and think critically about what matters to them. Information literacy also encompasses understanding systems of information production and knowledge creation, which is integral to the University’s initiatives around scholarly engagement and research output. We are so privileged to have access to the wealth of information resources and special collections available through UH Libraries. It’s important for students to engage with these resources effectively and develop critical awareness about the social, cultural, and economic forces that shape the information landscape. 

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

I received my library degree from the University of Arizona, which is also where I’d previously obtained an MFA in Creative Writing. Before I decided to become a librarian I was working as an adjunct instructor for composition. I’ve always been drawn to communities of learning, but teaching writing didn’t feel like a calling. I really enjoyed research assignments because they could be very self-directed and gave students the opportunity to learn more about their own interests, whether it was related to climate change or breakdancing. The first time a librarian came to my class to talk about research strategies was very eye-opening because it showed me another way to support student learning that felt less directive yet still very empowering. That really appealed to me, as someone who values both critical inquiry and learner autonomy, and it was a big part of what led me to become a librarian. 

What are one or two things you’d like faculty and students to know about working with a Teaching and Learning librarian?

The Teaching and Learning team is really welcoming and supportive. We strive to provide research support and facilitate learning experiences that are relevant and inclusive of diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and abilities. Each person’s research journey is guided by their unique motivations and lived experiences, which means no two research experiences are exactly alike, even if the topics are the same. One of the great pleasures of my job is meeting people and learning about the issues that are meaningful and authentic to them. Research does not have to be an isolated endeavor. It can also be an opportunity for connection and community, which is hopefully what faculty and students will discover when working with a teaching and learning librarian!

By on December 12th, 2022 in Announcements, Featured

New Exhibition on Birds Opens at UH Libraries

A new exhibition recently opened at University of Houston MD Anderson Library.

The Beauty of Birds, a new exhibition at University of Houston MD Anderson Library

The Beauty of Birds, a new exhibition at University of Houston MD Anderson Library

The Beauty of Birds highlights the illustrations that can be found in the pages of rare books at UH Libraries Special Collections and celebrates greater Houston’s place as a hub for birds and birders. Over 400 species of birds have been counted in Harris County alone, including both year-round residents and those that pass through on their annual spring migration. Especially popular with birders are the neotropical songbirds that make their way to breeding grounds in the northern United States and Canada from as far away as South America. Following their incredible journey across the Gulf of Mexico, these birds stop at the first land they encounter, often sites such as High Island in Galveston, to rest and refuel. Jewel-like warblers and others delight those who see them every spring in greater Houston and the surrounding Gulf Coast communities, and again in the fall on the birds’ return trip.

This exhibition was initially developed in the spring of 2020, during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many library staff, including student employees, found themselves working from home without access to the physical materials in the library’s collection. Under the direction of the Rare Books Collections curator Julie Grob, former student employee Naomi Palomares (’21) remotely researched the many books about birds that are available from UH Special Collections for a future exhibition. In addition to relying on the library’s online catalog, she drew on the large collection of digitized books available at Biodiversity Heritage Library. Production support for the exhibition was provided by Jerrell Jones, Mauricio Lazo, and Greg Yerke.

The Beauty of Birds will be on display through May 11, 2023.

Remembering Arden Eversmeyer

This post was contributed by Joyce Gabiola, LGBT History Research Collection librarian.

It is with great sadness that University of Houston Libraries Special Collections bids a heartfelt farewell to a longtime community activist in the LGBTQI+ community and one of our collection donors, Jean Arden Eversmeyer (1931 – 2022). Arden was widely known for founding the Lesbians Over the Age of Fifty (L.O.A.F.) social organization in 1987 and creating the Old Lesbians Oral History Project (OLOHP) ten years later to ensure that the narratives of her friends and other older lesbians across the nation (and beyond) would be preserved in history in their own voices and their own words.

Because Arden donated the L.O.A.F. Records to Special Collections, we are able to look through some of the organization’s earliest scrapbooks that Arden put together with thoughtfulness and care for the women with whom she built community, fostered meaningful friendships, and nurtured a sense of belonging. She has made an enormous impact on LGBTQ+ history across several decades and for some of us, an impact in our lives personally. Over many years, Arden brought people together to preserve, share, and reflect on LGBTQ+ community history, so today we are sharing and reflecting in her memory.

Below are two images from Arden’s early reflections leading up to the founding of L.O.A.F. These are her words from her narrative.

Thank you, Arden, for sharing your heart with the community.

By on November 22nd, 2022 in Announcements, Featured

RefWorks Login Update for Legacy Users

RefWorks is an online citation management, writing, and collaboration system that is offered free of charge by University of Houston Libraries to all UH students, staff, and faculty. RefWorks helps users organize and manage the references found during the research process as well as cite those references.

Legacy RefWorks will be deactivated in June 2023 by the vendor. UH Libraries plans to disable account creation in the legacy RefWorks platform after the fall 2022 semester. With RefWorks providing the most advanced reference management experience, all users will be using the current RefWorks platform.

UH users who are already signed up with the current RefWorks platform don’t need to take any action. Those who are still using the legacy Refworks platform, which allows the use of a non-UH email to log in, will need to change your personal email to your UH email before the end of fall 2022. Log in to your account, click your name, then click ‘Settings.’ There will be a field to update the email address to your UH email.

To learn more about how to use RefWorks, please refer to the citation management guide.

By on November 8th, 2022 in Announcements, Featured