Portland State Joins Open Textbook Network

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Portland State University has joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN), a consortium of colleges and universities working to advance open textbook initiatives.

Most significantly, OTN hosts the Open Textbook Library, comprised of “real, complete textbooks licensed so teachers and students can freely use, adapt, and distribute the material. Open textbooks can be downloaded for no cost, or printed inexpensively.” The Open Textbook Library “is a tool to help instructors find affordable, quality textbook solutions.”

According to OTN, members:

  • Help faculty members understand and adopt open textbooks in their classes

  • Increase capacity of institutions to support open textbooks on campus

  • Collect data to show the impact of open textbooks for students

The Open Textbook Library began at the University of Minnesota, a collaboration between the Center for Open Education and the University of Minnesota Libraries.

The Open Textbook Network now includes more than 60 individual and system members. In the Pacific Northwest, Oregon State University, the University of Washington, and Oregon Community Colleges are also members.

As part of this membership, Portland State is hosting an Open Textbook Workshop this fall. Sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of Academic Innovation, and the University Library, this workshop will offer an introduction to open textbooks and how they benefit students both financially and academically. We encourage Portland State faculty to apply.

Learn more about the Open Textbook Workshop at Portland State University in November.

Learn more about the Open Textbook Network.

Learn more about the Open Textbook Library. 

Faculty: Apply to Attend Open Textbook Workshop

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The Portland State University Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of Academic Innovation, and the University Library are pleased to announce an upcoming workshop led by the Open Textbook Network. This workshop will introduce the concept of open textbooks, their benefits, and how to find and incorporate them into courses.

When:     Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (lunch provided!)
PSU Library, Room 160 (1st floor, across from the elevators)

Participants will be asked to write a short review of an Open Textbook Library textbook in their field following the workshop. Departments will receive $200 as recognition of the faculty member’s contribution. Please note: open textbooks are not available for all subjects, so please check textbook availability.

Applications are due by Tuesday October 27, 2015. Capacity is limited.

Why Open Textbooks?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics

  • Seven out of ten students don’t purchase a required textbook during their academic career because of cost.
  • The average undergraduate can expect to pay $1,225 for textbooks/supplies during one academic year.
  • The cost of textbooks is rising at four times the inflation rate.

Open Textbooks can lower students costs without comprising their learning.

  • Open textbooks are freely available online and can be used in whole or part at no cost to students.
  • Open textbooks are often written by professors and other scholars in their fields of expertise.
  • Open textbooks are often published with the same editorial rigor as commercial textbooks.
  • The number of open textbooks is increasing across a variety of subject areas.

Apply to attend the workshop and learn how open textbooks can benefit our students, both academically and financially.

The workshop will be led by David Ernst of the University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Library and Sarah Cohen of the Open Textbook Network.

Questions about the workshop? Please contact Karen Bjork, Head of Digital Initiatives, or Sarah Beasley, Humanities & Social Sciences Librarian and Scholarly Communication Coordinator.

This workshop is sponsored by OAA, OAI, and the Library.

“Does the Library have my textbook?”

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It’s the most common question at the Library this time of year!

graphic about textbooks

Here’s how to find the answer:

PSU Library Course Reserves

Instructors sometimes place textbooks and other course readings on reserve in the Library. We have both paper reserves (physical textbooks, for example) and electronic reserves (online articles and ebooks). Did your instructor place your textbook and course readings on reserve?

PSU Library Stacks & Summit Libraries

PSU Library may own a copy of a textbook but your instructor has not placed it on reserve. You may borrow this book from the Library.

If PSU Library doesn’t have the book, it may be available at a Summit library. You can request books from Summit and, if available, they usually arrive at the PSU Library Circulation Desk within a few days. You may borrow Summit books for six weeks.

Not at the Library?

Still have questions? Please Ask a Librarian for help.

Note: we are unable to request textbooks through Interlibrary Loan.

Library Updates for Fall Term

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We are so happy to see faculty and students returning to campus! Welcome back! As we gear up for fall term, here’s an overview of upcoming events and new collections that might be of interest.

New & Expanded Collections

New Streaming Media Service

Kanopy has more than 6,000 streaming films and documentaries available to PSU students, faculty, and staff. Search the Library catalog for titles, or browse subjects and timely topics through their website. Learn more about Kanopy.

New Databases & Ebook Collections

New Special Collections

Black United Front Oral History Project
Oregon Sustainable Community Digital Library in PDXScholar

Exhibits & Events


Embedding Links to Articles, Books, & Multimedia in Your Classes
Wednesday, September 23, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., Library Room 160
Thursday, September 24, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Library Room 160

Managing Resources with Zotero and Mendeley
Wednesday, October 21, 4 – 5:30 p.m., Library Room 160
Tuesday, November 17, 4 – 5:30 p.m., Library Room 160

Organizing Your Information
Wednesday, November 4, 4 – 5:30 p.m., Library Room 284

How to Make Your Research Data Sing
Tuesday, November 24, 4 – 5:30 p.m., Library Room 170

Please email Michael Bowman at if you plan on attending, “How to Make Your Research Data Sing,” and let him know what department you are in. That will help him prepare discipline-specific examples.

Learn More About Workshops & Tours.

Oregon Archives Month Celebration

Get a behind-the-scenes tour of the City of Portland archives and chat with local archivists. PSU Library Special Collections and University Archives and ten other area archives invite you to join them to celebrate Oregon Archives Month on Saturday, October 3.

Learn more about the Oregon Archives Month Celebration.

Library Talk: Care & Repair of Books

On Monday, October 26 at 6pm, join book repair expert Carolee Harrison from Special Collections and University Archives and learn the basics of book structure and simple techniques for maintaining your personal library.

Learn more about Care & Repair of Books, part of Portland State of Mind.

Wear Your Politics!

This Special Collections mini-exhibit will be on display through September.

Fall Exhibit

Coming in October: a student-curated exhibit on the student strikes at Portland State in May 1970.


Updated Library Research Tutorials

We have updated five library tutorials that can offer your students excellent introductions to library research. Find the tutorials Library Orientation, Develop Your Research Strategy, Search for Resources, Evaluate Your Resources, and Cite Your Sources on the library website.


Technology Updates

We are now loaning headsets with microphones for videoconferencing, and we’ve added a quick print computer to the Library’s second floor, near the printers. The third, fourth, and fifth flooors have new 3-prong and USB outlets along the windows, and we added a few height-adjustable tables to the fourth and fifth floors. We’ve also added a new practice presentation room. Read more technology updates.

If you have questions about these events or any other library resources or services, please ask a librarian. Have a great fall term!

Oregon Archives Month Celebration on Oct. 3

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Join Portland State University Library Special Collections and University Archives and ten other local archives at the City of Portland Archives and Records Center for an Oregon Archives Month Celebration.
History: Feed Your Head
Saturday, October 3, 2015
11:00 am – 3:00 pm
City of Portland Archives & Records Center
PSU Academic & Student Recreation Center (ASRC) 1800 SW 6th Ave, Suite 550
Free and open to the public!

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the City’s archives and chat with local archivists representing 11 different archives:

  • City of Portland
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Mazamas
  • Metro
  • Multnomah County
  • Oregon Health & Science University
  • Oregon Historical Society
  • Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education
  • Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center
  • Portland State University
  • PSU’s Architecture, Engineering and Construction

Learn more about the Oregon Archives Month Celebration.

RSVP via Facebook.

Library Pilots Kanopy, Streaming Media Service

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This fall, PSU Library is piloting Kanopy, a new streaming media service. Kanopy provides streaming access to a range of films and documentaries from PBS, the BBC, the Criterion Collection, New Day Films, and more.
kanopy logo
There are two ways to find streaming films from Kanopy:

  1. Search the Library catalog. More than 6,000 Kanopy films are available this way, with many more to come. Also, when you search the Library catalog, you’ll be able to find results for streaming films available through other database providers like Films on Demand.
  2. Browse Kanopy online. When you access Kanopy through the Library website, you’ll be able to search their collection or browse by subject and featured collections. Kanopy offers a user-friendly interface with a range of subjects relative to academic disciplines as well as timely and interesting topics.

Kanopy is a demand-driven service, which means PSU Library will pay only for content that PSU students and faculty actually watch.

The Kanopy collection will continue to grow, with new titles and records added monthly.

Update on September 30, 2015
Caption Request Tool
Kanopy recently added a tool to request a caption for any film in their collection. According to Kanopy: “We have integrated a new user caption request tool on your website which provides any user the ability to instantly request that a film be captioned. As you may know, we have always offered a complimentary, rapid-turnaround service for any films without captions; this new tool now allows faculty, students and libraries to simply request captioning directly from the film page in question.”

New Arts & Humanities Databases

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PSU Library has acquired a collection of Arts & Humanities Databases from ProQuest. This collection of databases expands indexing and full text coverage support for arts and humanities, especially art, design, film, music, and performing arts. Included in the collection are the following databases:

Bebe Miller and Dance Company in 1989
Bebe Miller and dance company, January 1989. Photo via University Archives Digital Gallery.

General Arts & Humanities

This database features hundreds of titles covering Art, Architecture, Design, History, Philosophy, Music, Literature, Theater, and Cultural Studies.



Music & Performing Arts

New Collections in Sociology and Social Work

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Symptom Media Collection

We now have a 3-year license to Symptom Media Collection. Symptom Media is an online mental health education and training film library. These DSM 5 and ICD guided films offer guideposts to better understand what a particular mental health diagnosis looks like. Videos range from 30 seconds to 15 minutes. They help users identify, understand, and recognize nonverbal cues and body language indicators; provide points of reference for cross comparisons and differentiate between diagnoses; and learn assessment skills.

Symptom Media Collection is available through library databases. 

Taylor & Francis Ebooks

The Library purchased the following new sociology and social work ebooks from publisher Taylor & Francis. These ebooks are DRM-free, meaning they can be downloaded and printed without limitations. They are available via a search in the Library catalog. Titles include:

  • Power and Welfare: Understanding Citizens’ Encounters with State Welfare
  • 21st Century Sexualities
  • The Ethical Foundations of Social Work
  • An Introduction to Using Theory in Social Work Practice
  • Classes, Strata and Power
  • Social Theory and the Family
  • Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives
  • Race and Ethnicity: Culture, Identity and Representation
  • The Data Game: Controversies in Social Science Statistics
  • Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex: Crime and Incarceration in the 21st Century
  • The Personal and the Political: Social Work and Political Action
  • Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry: The Social Construction of Female Popular Music Stars
  • (Sub)Urban Sexscapes: Geographies and Regulation of the Sex Industry
  • Youth Work: Preparation for Practice
  • Social Justice in Clinical Practice: A Liberation Health Framework for Social Work
  • Skills for Using Theory in Social Work: 32 Lessons for Evidence-Informed Practice

Rutherford Family Home Listed in National Register

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Rutherford Family Home circa 1922
The Rutherford Family Home, circa 1922. Photo from the Rutherford Collection at PSU Library.

The Northeast Portland family home of Otto and Verdell Burdine Rutherford was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. According to Oregon Heritage, “the house is believed to be the first historic property in Oregon listed in the National Register primarily for its association with the Civil Rights era.”

Portland State University Library Special Collections holds the Verdell A. Burdine and Otto G. Rutherford Family Collection, donated by their daughter Charlotte Rutherford to PSU in 2012.

Oregon Heritage describes the house on the corner of NE Shaver and 9th in historic Albina as “a modest bungalow that served as a family home and support center for civil rights causes for more than half a century.” They continue:

“It was home to three generations of the Rutherford family, each of which was active in civil rights in Portland. William Rutherford and his brother Henry moved to Portland from Columbia, South Carolina in 1897 to work as barbers in the prestigious Portland Hotel. In 1923 William moved into the 1905 house on Shaver Street in the King neighborhood of Albina. Here William and his wife Lottie raised their four children, including their third son Otto, instilling in them a love of community and respect for education and hard work.

Otto and Verdell moved back into the family home upon their marriage in 1936 and began their life of activism. A high point in their careers occurred in 1953, when Oregon’s Public Accommodations Act, under the sponsorship of then Representative Mark O. Hatfield, was passed. This landmark legislation occurred when Otto Rutherford was president of the Portland Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Verdell was secretary, positions they held for several years.

Otto & Verdell Rutherford in 1982. Photo by Richard Brown.
Otto & Verdell Rutherford at their home in 1982. Photo by Richard Brown from the Rutherford Collection at PSU Library.

The Rutherford house, where Otto and Verdell raised their three children, was the location of much organizing for civil rights in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as being the first home of the NAACP Credit Union.

In later years, the Rutherfords worked arduously to document the history of the African American community in Portland. … Otto died in 2000 and Verdell followed shortly thereafter, in 2001. The house is still held by the family.”

Learn more about the National Register and recent Oregon place listings.

View the online exhibit Say We Are Here: Selections from the Verdell A. Burdine and Otto G. Rutherford Family Collection

Learn more about the Rutherfords and see a larger selection of their family photos, scrapbooks, newspapers clippings, records, and more.

See the finding aid for the Verdell Burdine and Otto G. Rutherford Family Collection, 1900s-1980s.

Read the Oregonian story “Modest Northeast Portland home wins historic designation for civil rights role.”