Librarian Joan Petit Named Fulbright Scholar to Ethiopia

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Joan Petit of Portland State University Library has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program grant to Ethiopia for the 2016-2017 academic year. Petit, an associate professor and librarian, will be based in the Information Science department at Jimma University, where she will teach and research.

Petit2016“It’s an incredible honor to be chosen as a Fulbright Scholar,” said Petit. She is one of more than 1,200 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and provide expertise abroad for the 2016-2017 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

Petit will teach Information Science classes, train staff, and work with the Jimma University Library as well as conduct a research project focusing on open educational resources in Ethiopia. Open educational resources (OER) are course materials authored by faculty and made available online for free, for use and adaptation by other instructors at other institutions. However, in less economically developed countries, infrastructure limitations can be a barrier to the adaptation and use of OER.

“Jimma University is an ideal host for my project,” said Petit. “Their Information Sciences program is one of the few in Ethiopia that offers library and information science education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The university is well-established and offers a range of programs serving a large number of students. The city of Jimma is several hours away from the Ethiopian capital and lacks the internet and power infrastructure that follows expats, tourists, and NGOs. If OER can work well at Jimma, it suggests OER may be a reasonable option for higher education elsewhere in Ethiopia, East Africa, and beyond.”

Petit holds an M.S. in Library Science and a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as well as an M.A. in English from Western Carolina University. She previously lived abroad for two years when she worked as a librarian at the American University in Cairo. She will be on sabbatical from Portland State University during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries that are needed to solve global challenges.

For further information about the Fulbright Program, please visit the Fulbright Scholar Program website.

Spring 2016 Exhibit: The Personal Is Political

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Kafoury Exhibit Poster
Photograph of Gretchen Kafoury by Israel Bayer, Street Roots

PSU Library Special Collections’ spring exhibit features Portland politician and activist Gretchen Kafoury (1942-2015). Through a wide range of materials curated from Kafoury’s papers, the exhibit connects the passion she brought to the causes she fought for to each role she played in Oregon politics, whether organizing local actions or holding elected office.

Committee to Defend the Right to Protest letter 1975Political Pin CollectionHighlights include Kafoury’s activism in the women’s rights movement in Portland and in state government; her efforts locally as County and City Commissioner to establish and support social programs for those in need, particularly women and the homeless; and the part she played in legislating equal rights in Oregon. The exhibit offers an inside look into the workings of both official and unofficial politics through Kafoury’s unflagging dedication, principles, and humor.

Outtake of Multnomah County Board of CommissionersCorinne Rupp, a PSU Honors College student, curated the exhibit as part of her Honors thesis project, which also includes processing part of the Gretchen Kafoury Papers collection to make it available to researchers. PSU Library Special Collections is proud to present Corinne’s work in honor of Gretchen Kafoury’s life and achievements, and as a collaboration of local leadership, student research, and the Library’s unique collections.

The exhibit will be on view in the Library first floor elevator lobby throughout Spring 2016. For more information about the exhibit and the Gretchen Kafoury Papers at PSU Library Special Collections, please contact

PDXScholar Registered with SHARE

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Portland State University Library recently registered the Portland State institutional repository, PDXScholar, with SHARE:

“SHARE is a higher education initiative whose mission is to maximize research impact by making research widely accessible, discoverable, and reusable. To fulfill this mission SHARE is building a free, open, data set about research and scholarly activities across their life cycle.”

PDXScholar is one of 111 providers.

logo for SHAREAn ongoing challenge for digital repositories like PDXScholar is identifying and leveraging relationships among materials in separate repositories. SHARE allows researchers to search multiple research activities in one framework, so that repositories with different specializations and user communities can work together to provide greater services than any one repository can provide.

According to their website, “SHARE is gathering, cleaning, linking, and enhancing metadata that describes research activities and outputs—from data management plans and grant proposals to preprints, presentations, journal articles, and data repository deposits—in order to make this metadata openly and freely available. The initiative is also engaging the community to contribute authoritative metadata enhancements and to develop software code to help users get the most out of SHARE’s free and open data set.”

SHARE is led by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and Center for Open Science (COS).

PSU Joins Open Library of Humanities Library Partnership Program

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Portland State University Library has joined more than 180 libraries in North America and the United Kingdom as a member of the Library Partnership program of the Open Library of Humanities.

logo for Open Library of the HumanitiesThe Open Library of Humanities (OLH) is a non-profit organization dedicated to publishing open access scholarship with no author-facing article processing charges (APCs).  With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the OLH platform covers its costs by payments from an international library consortium, rather than any kind of author fee.

OLH publishes several journals on its platform, including the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics ScholarshipASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth CenturyOpen Library of HumanitiesOrbit: Writing Around Pynchon, and Studies in the Maternal.

OLH affiliated journals include the new Glossa: A Journal of General LinguisticsJournal of Portuguese Linguistics, and Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology.

You can find information about and links to all of these journals through the OLH website.

Professor Martin Paul Eve, a founder and academic project director of the OLH, welcomed Portland State: “I am delighted that Portland State has joined the OLH model. It is fairly clear that open access can bring huge advantages to the humanities disciplines but also equally clear that we need a better way than article processing charges to achieve this. With the help of institutions like Portland State we will continue to expand our model for open access in the humanities.”

Faculty & Grad Students: Demonstrate Your Scholarly Impact

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Demonstrating the impact of your scholarly agenda and scholarly output is a nuanced art. There are multi-faceted ways to measure your work’s impact, and a myriad of ways to present it. You can use both quantitative and qualitative measures in demonstrating impact. In an era of constant technological change, there are even more ways to capture evidence of impact.

Art collage by hogret via DeviantArt
“Publish or Perish” by hogret via DeviantArt

Librarian Emily Ford has published a new guide that presents instructional information and links to resources for quantitative metrics, including impact measures and citation counts, as well as qualitative evidence that can be gathered via altmetrics tools and social media.

Demonstrate Your Impact includes the following sections:

Still have questions? Portland State subject librarians are available for consultations and help regarding any of the topics in this guide. A complete list of subject librarians by discipline is available on our website.

Call for Proposals for Open Textbooks

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With the continued success of Portland State University Library’s open textbook project, PDX Open, the Library is pleased to announce a new round of funding for the development of open access textbooks by PSU faculty.

Proposals are due May 6, 2016.

Open textbooks are digital in format and made freely available over the web for students at Portland State and beyond. Open textbooks are published in PDXScholar, the University’s institutional repository managed by PSU Library. Currently we have published eleven open textbooks authored by PSU faculty.

PSU Library seeks proposals for texts that are comprehensive works geared toward a specific field of study. Preference will be given to proposals with applicability towards multiple, high-enrollment courses taught by faculty in a single department at Portland State.

A PSU faculty member must be sole or lead author.

Faculty authors whose proposals are accepted for publication will receive a $2,500 grant. For more information on how the funds may be allocated, please see the Open Access Textbook Publishing FAQ.

Please see the proposal submission form for details on what to submit with your application.

Learn more about open textbook publishing at Portland State University:

If you have additional questions, please contact Karen Bjork, Head of Digital Initiatives.


PDX Open Textbooks Save PSU Students $59,000

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It’s an expensive time to be a college student for all but the wealthiest of students, and tuition isn’t even the biggest expense. The College Board estimates that tuition and fees are approximately 39% of a typical undergraduate student’s budget, while they spend, on average, $1,298 per year on books and supplies. The continually increasing price of textbooks is a barrier for many college students, many of whom find they can’t afford the required course materials.

Portland State University Library has found one way to reduce the cost of attendance: the creation and adoption of open textbooks through a project called PDX Open. Open textbooks are faculty-authored, high quality textbooks made available for free online. Over the past few years, Portland State University Library has done something uncommon: working with faculty authors, the Library has published several open access textbooks free to students at PSU and to anyone with a computer and internet connection. The Library estimate that at least 500 Portland State students have saved $59,000 on textbooks through PDX Open.

PDX Open textbooks have been created for classes in several Portland State disciplines, University Studies, World Languages, Math, Education, Psychology, and Urban Studies.

Portland State students aren’t the only ones who have benefited. PDX Open textbooks have international reach: they have been downloaded in 75 countries including the United States, India, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Indonesia, South Africa, France, Canada, Philippines, Vietnam, China, and Mexico. Because of the library publishing infrastructure created through PDX Open, the Library’s project to reduce costs for PSU students is having global impact.

PDX Open by the Numbers

  • Total number of PDX Open textbooks: 10
  • Total number of open textbook downloads: 4,673 (as of March 24, 2016)
  • Number of countries where textbooks have been downloaded: 75
  • Number of Portland State students who have taken classes with PDX Open textbooks: 500
  • Total savings to PSU students: $59,000
  • Total cost of stipends to PSU faculty to author ten PDX Open textbooks: $25,000

In just two years, Portland State University Library has saved students more than double the amount invested in authorship of PDX Open textbooks. And that number is growing, as these textbooks continue to be used each term.

Several PDX Open textbooks are also available in the Open Textbook Library, a project of the Open Textbook Network, a consortium of colleges and universities working to advance open textbook initiatives. Portland State University is a member of the Open Textbook Network.

With the great success of PDX Open, PSU Library has issued a call for proposals for new open textbooks. 

The Library also submitted a proposal to the Knight News Challenge to grow PDX Open even more.

For more information on PDX Open textbooks, please contact Karen Bjork, Head of Digital Initiatives at Portland State University Library.

New Open Textbooks Published by PSU Library

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Portland State University Library announces the publication of six new open textbooks authored by PSU faculty.







This brings to eleven the open textbooks published by PSU Library through the Library’s textbook publishing project. These open textbooks are available for free in PDXScholar, the Portland State University digital, institutional repository for faculty and student scholarship and research.

With the great success open textbook publishing at Portland State, PSU Library has issued a call for proposals for new open textbooks.