New Open Textbook

Portland State University Library is pleased to announce the publication of our newest open textbook, Inferring and Explaining, by Jeffery L. Johnson.

Inferring and Explaining is a book in practical epistemology. It examines the notion of evidence and assumes that good evidence is the essence of rational thinking. Evidence is the cornerstone of the natural, social, and behavioral sciences. But it is equally central to almost all academic pursuits and, perhaps most importantly, to the basic need to live an intelligent and reflective life.

This is the 20th open textbook published through the PDXOpen Publishing Initiative Grant Program. These twenty textbooks have been downloaded more than 121,000 times in countries all over the world. These open access, openly licensed, digital textbooks are free to students at Portland State and to people around the world.

Portland State University is a founding member of the Open Textbook Network Publishing Cooperative. This is the first Co-op publication to be released. The Co-op is a community of people working together to grow open textbook publishing expertise in higher education, and increase the availability of free, open textbooks for use by instructors and students across the world. For more information:

PDXScholar Year in Review: More than 1 Million Downloads in 2018

The annual report from PDXScholar shows the growing and continued impact of the work of Portland State University faculty, staff, and students. Portland State University Library released its annual report today, with several notable highlights, including a new benchmark: in 2018 alone, there were more than one million downloads of works from PDXScholar.  The year also saw a dramatic 35% increase in full text downloads, from 874,129 in 2017 to 1,182,021 downloads in 2018. PDXScholar items were downloaded by people in 228 countries and accessed by people at more than 32,570 institutions worldwide. As of January 8, 2019, there have been more than 3.7 million total downloads of items from PDXScholar.


Top three most downloaded collections:

This year, the Library also published four new open access textbooks and digitized 371 Portland State theses and dissertations


Throughout the year, we gather feedback from users. Here is some of what our users told us this year: 

“PDXScholar makes it so easy ‒ that’s why you have a good reputation among faculty.”‒ Bennett Gilbert, PSU University Studies
“Thank you for providing such articles. It will help me in providing background information to encourage the MENA region countries to mainstream the concept of valuing Ecosystem Services in the decision making process in light of climate change and accomplishing the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals].” ‒ HRH Princess Basma Ali (Jordan)
“Access to your peer reviewed research on lead contamination in urban gardens in Oakland helped me, as an advocate of healthy food systems, promote policy reforms to improve public health and access to healthy food.” – Anonymous
“I’m in high school and am writing a thesis for my senior year. It has been incredibly difficult finding resources for my topic, especially online. Getting access to this thesis online and for free is a wonderful benefit.” – Anonymous

PDXScholar, a service of Portland State University Library, provides access to a diverse collection of academic, scholarly, scientific and creative content produced by faculty, students and staff. PDXScholar increases the visibility of authors’ works, maximizes research impact, facilitates interdisciplinary research, and provides regional and global communities with immediate and permanent access.

See more information in the PDXScholar Annual Report for 2018.

Distribution map of PDXScholar downloads

This map shows the distribution of PDXScholar downloads, with heaviest concentrations in North America, western Europe, and India.

“Does the Library have my textbook?”

We have so many books at the Library! But do we have your textbook? The answer is: it depends. We know you want to save money on your books this term, so here are some ways to figure out if the Library has your book. ""

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). You can borrow print books at the Circulation Desk on the Library’s first floor.

Did your instructor place your textbook and course readings on reserve? Find out here: 

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 (Summit is a partnership of academic libraries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho). You can request books from Summit (for free!) and, if available, they usually arrive at the PSU Library Circulation Desk within a few days. You may borrow Summit books for six weeks.

Is your book available to borrow from PSU Library or through Summit? Find out here: 

Not at the Library?

PSU Bookstore is your first stop for textbook purchases, of course.

Looking for something else at the Library? 

The Library catalog is your starting point to find books, ebooks, articles, journals, streaming videos and other media, and much more. Log in with your ODIN to see all the resources available to you.

Still have questions?

Please Ask a Librarian for help.

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

Senior Capstone Students Present Research on 16th-Century Book of Hours

Link to the Medieval Portland Senior Capstone Collection

Kerver’s distinctive colophon with two unicorns signifying his shop’s location.

Thielman Kerver came to Paris in the late fifteenth century and operated a bookshop and printing press at the “Sign of the Unicorn.” Kerver’s large collection of engravings distinguished his printed works with rich detail in religious iconography, teeming Gothic illustrations, and delicate Renaissance marginalia. In 2018, with the generous support of the Gordon Hunter Fund, PSU Library Special Collections acquired a Book of Hours printed by Kerver in 1507.

Books of Hours were the most common of all books produced in Europe near the turn of the sixteenth century, both before and after the introduction of the printing press. After the press made mass production possible, the Parisian printing industry, which dominated the European market in the early sixteenth century, produced thousands of Books of Hours for distribution across Europe. The book now held in Special Collections was most likely intended for a Spanish reader, as its liturgical calendar includes  feast days of saints celebrated in Catalonia.

As a visual and written religious text, a work of art created between the late medieval and early Renaissance periods, and an artifact from the dawn of popular printing, this Book of Hours offers students a range of perspectives from which to explore it. In Spring 2018, a group of PSU seniors in Professor Anne McClanan’s Medieval Portland Senior Capstone focused on this Book of Hours with close analyses of its religious symbolism, its textual content and significance, its place in the European book trade and regional use of religious works, and its physical condition. The class was co-taught by Professor Maud Pérez-Simon, a medievalist from Université Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, who shared her expertise and guided the students in refining their work.

The students’ essays are now presented online in the PDXScholar digital collection, Kerver Book of Hours, and their research will also be available in the Medieval Portland database, which contains information on artifacts and resources held in collections citywide, including PSU Library Special Collections.

The Kerver Book of Hours is also on display this Fall and Winter terms in the Library’s first floor elevator lobby during the hours that Special Collections is open, Monday through Friday. For more information or to visit Special Collections, please e-mail us:

Library Publishes Two New Open Textbooks

Cover of Beginning Japanese 3Portland State University Library is pleased to announce the publication of two new open textbooks, Beginning Japanese for Professional: Book 3 by Emiko Konomi and Sons et lettres: A French Pronunciation Method for Intermediate-level French by Stephen Walton.

Beginning Japanese for Professionals: Book 3 is designed for beginning learners who want to learn basic Japanese for the purpose of living and working in Japan. Unlike textbooks written primarily for students, in which the content largely centers on student life, this book focuses on social and professional life beyond school. 

This is the third book in a three book series authored by Emiko Konomi. Beginning Japanese for Professionals: Book 1 has been downloaded more than 65,500 times since its publication in 2015. 

Sons et lettres provides a set of classroom materials to train students to hear and produce the sounds of French and to recognize the regular spellings used to represent those sounds in print. The materials are inspired by a desire to help students feel more confident about their French pronunciation and more at home saying the many French words, familiar and unfamiliar, which they encounter in their studies, in French media and in their travels. This textbook has an associated website, which is an integral part of the method.  

These books bring to 19 the total of textbooks published through the PDXOpen Publishing Initiative Grant Program. These nineteen textbooks have been downloaded more than 100,000 times in countries all over the world. These open access, digital textbooks are free to students at Portland State and to people around the world. 

Autumn Exhibits: Special Collections and University Archives

What do a rare devotional text, published writing by Portland State students, and arguments aimed at convincing Oregonian voters have in common? The simple answer is that these are all examples of unique artifacts and collections held by Portland State University Library Special Collections and University Archives! The Library’s exhibit this autumn reflects the beginnings and endings of the season in its selections highlighting student writing, publishing, and research.

Spotlight on Student Media

Cover of Pathos, volume 10 number 3

Pathos Literary Magazine, Spring 2016 (v.10 no.3).

Beginning with the Vanguard newspaper, founded in 1946 under the masthead Vet’s Extended, and the Viking  yearbook, which ran for nearly forty years with only two pauses, Portland State students have published their writing in a rich array of genres and formats. Included in University Archives’ exhibit are poetry and prose journals, weekly newspapers, and books published by the Ooligan Press. Browse the exhibit for lively historical examples, check out PDXScholar for digital back issues of student media, and pick up a recently published student paper or magazine for some current reading!


Election Season with Special Collections

Vote Yes on 4: Oregon Public UtilitiesThe State of Oregon has the earliest established initiative and referendum system in the United States, and continues to be one of the most active users of that system to bring issues to the ballot. Josh Binus, a public historian and PSU history instructor, began the Ballot Measure Archive Project in 2004 to document and preserve evidence of Oregon’s dynamic history of direct democracy. Binus and over 120 researchers, primarily PSU undergraduates, worked more than five years gathering materials relating to Oregon’s ballot initiative process: letters, articles and editorials, petitions, speeches, advertisements, signs, mailers, bumper stickers, buttons, and more from both sides of campaign issues. Check the exhibit for highlights of ardent support and vehement dissent on statewide issues, and learn how Oregonians voted!


Memento Mori: ‘Remember Death’

Engraving from Book of Hours

Engraving from the Fifteen Signs Before Doomsday: “12. The stars and the planets will fall enflamed.”

In Spring 2018, students in the Medieval Portland Senior Capstone focused their research on a Book of Hours printed in 1507 by Thielman Kerver in Paris. The book’s comprehensive inclusion of Christian texts often left out of Books of Hours and its highly detailed illustrations made it a compelling subject for interdisciplinary study. In the spirit of the season, as trees shed dead leaves and nights lengthen, we have selected studies on sections of the Book of Hours that contemplate mortality, endings, and inward reflection. The Book of Hours itself will be on display Monday through Friday while Special Collections is open.

Visit the PSU Library first floor elevator lobby to view the exhibit, and follow us on Instagram for more selections from your Library’s unique collections!

French Comics Artists at PSU Library

The PSU Comics Studies Program, PSU French Department, and the French American Cultural society present a talk with French comics artists Antoine Maillard and Mélek Zertal.

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Library Room 170

Paywall Film Screening

""Just when you’ve found the perfect article for your paper, you hit it: the paywall. Academic publishing is big business. More than $25 billion a year flows into for-profit academic publishers like Elsevier, some of whom have profit margins of 35%, bigger than Apple, Facebook, and Google. The documentary Paywall: The Business of Scholarship explores the high dollars in this industry and the possible solution of open access publishing. 

Join PSU Library for a free screening of Paywall during Open Access Week. 

Monday, October 22
4:00-5:30 p.m.
PSU Library Room 170
Light refreshments available

PSU Library Special Collections Participates in Oregon Archives Crawl

Join PSU Library Special Collections and University Archives and more than 30 other local archives, special collections, and heritage organizations on Saturday, October 20, 2018 for the Oregon Archives Crawl

""Start the Crawl at any of these locations: City of Portland Archives & Records Center, the Oregon Historical Society or the Multnomah County Library. At each site you’ll find representatives from archives, special collections, and heritage organizations. “Passports” are available at each site to help guide you and provide a list of organizations. From young, old, and in-between to vintage photo lover to history buff to scholar to student to genealogist to building researcher to those who are just curious to learn something new: everyone is welcome.

This event is free and open to the public. 

More information: Oregon Archives Crawl

New Website Design

The Library has refreshed the design of our website for the start of fall term! The new design is simpler and cleaner and, we hope, will help users find what they need more quickly. The navigation is the same, and you should be able to find the same content through the same paths as before.

You can get a tour of the Library website here:

Our new website design was created by Jack Bouba and Brennen Florey in the PSU Office of Information Technology, with implementation by Library Lead Web Programmer Mike Flakus and Library Technologies staff and student workers. We appreciate the significant contributions of library staff in launching the new design.

If you encounter broken links or problems with the new site, please let us know using our Suggestions Form.

If you have general questions about Library services and resources, please Ask a Librarian.